01:19 GMT +322 January 2019
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    Chinese soldiers guard the perimeter of the Jiuquan space base, in north China's Gansu province on June 15, 2012, on the eve of the launch of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft.

    Chinese Air Force Plans to Expand Presence in Outer Space - Ministry

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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - The Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force intends to increase its presence in space as part of a plan to create world-class strategic aviation, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    "At the first stage — until 2020 — [it is planned] to create strategic aviation, proceed with the construction of the strategic aviation's structure, which will have integrated capabilities in the air and outer space and balanced capabilities both in defensive and offensive operations," the statement said.

    According to the statement, the fourth-generation armament will form the basis for the new system.

    READ MORE: China Unveils Stealth Drone for First Time at Zhuhai Airshow (PHOTOS)

    The second stage of the plan involves the creation of a brand new air force system — by 2035 a full modern strategic air force is excepted to be formed.

    The third stage of the plan provides for the creation of a world-class air force by around the 2050s that would reflect China's status as one of the world's most powerful nations.

    On November 2, China successfully launched the BeiDou-3 satellite, the 41st satellite to join the nation's BeiDou navigation system, atop the Long March 3B carrier rocket, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) reported.

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    plan, space, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), China
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