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China to boost air defenses?

By Richard Tomkins
China to boost air defenses?
The official newspaper of China's Communist Party reports the Chinese air force may boost its anti-missile capabilities. Pictured, a THAAD interceptor missile at launch. U.S. Missile Defense Agency photo by Ralph Scott

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The Chinese air force may increase the country's existing anti-missile capabilities, according to the official People's Daily Online.

Shen Jinke, spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Air Force, was quoted by People's Daily as saying upgrades to the ground-to-air forces in China would be a solid step toward increasing national security.

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"Through innovation, ground-to-air defense troops are able to deal with far-range, medium-range and short-range missiles which can come in on high, medium and low altitudes," he said. "The capability of China's air defense and anti-missile systems has greatly improved in the information age we live in. Our ground-to-air forces are now a powerful force to safeguard China's airspace sovereignty."

The circumstances surrounding the spokesman's remarks were not detailed. Neither were indications on when or how the China's current ground-to-air missile and anti-aircraft defense systems might be upgraded.

However, the statement follows plans by the United States and South Korea to place the U.S. THAAD, or Terminal High-Altitude Aerial Defense, anti-missile system in South Korea.

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