Beijing: China`s security is threatened by advances made by other countries in space based capabilities, a Chinese military think-tank has said.
"A few countries have speeded up development of space based offensive weapons, setting up space combat forces, issuing space war doctrines as well as organising space offensive and defensive drills," said Centre for National Defence Policy report by the People`s Liberation (PLA) Academy of Military Sciences.
Some countries had developed all-weather, near real-time, multi-spectral and high-precision cameras to collect data on China`s military, political, economic and technological abilities, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted official media as saying.
It claimed that space superpowers had developed space-to- land, space-to-sea and space-to-air attack capabilities using ballistic missiles, near-space aircraft, spacecraft and atmospheric vehicles as well as other new space weapons.
These "have caused critical threats to China`s space security", the report said.
It did not name which countries had challenged China, but military experts say it hinted at the United States.
China and US traded allegations of cyber espionage and Washington has indicted five PLA officials for attempts to steal industrial secrets.
"China feels a great threat from the US, which is increasingly monitoring Beijing through its mature reconnaissance technologies," He Qisong, an expert on space at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, told Post.
These included optical and radar-imaging technologies and satellites that delivered early warnings on missile launches, He said.
"The PLA`s Academy of Military Sciences highlights so many critical threats in space that Beijing needs to tackle because it wants to call on all military departments to support the ongoing integration of air-space operation, which has been repeatedly urged by President Xi Jinping since early this year," he said.
In April, Xi told Chinese Air Force to speed up its transformation to emerge as a strong power by integrating air and space capability on the same lines as United States.
China demonstrated its space power when it shot down its own satellite with a ground based missile in 2007. Recent reports said China has tested new anti-satellite ballistic missile.
Observers say that China`s confidence was boosted by several space missions using advanced cryogenic engines.
"The PLA Air Force neither takes part in satellite launching nor strategic missile development projects," He said.
The General Armament Department overseas China`s satellite launches, while the Second Artillery Corps takes care of all missile projects.
The report also stressed the strategic value of China`s scientific research in the Arctic, which it believes will support China`s sustainable economic development by allowing new navigation routes and new measures to counter sandstorms and extreme weather in the country.
It also said that Japan`s worries about China`s navy and the overlapping air defence identification zone in the East China Sea would increase risks of accidents.