A senior US defense official on Wednesday voiced doubts about China’s insistence that its use of space is for peaceful means as Washington appealed for steady military ties with the rising Asian power.

“The Chinese have stated that they oppose the militarization of space. Their actions seem to indicate the contrary intention,” said Wallace Gregson, the assistant secretary of defense in charge of Asia.

“We continue to press the Chinese for explanation,” Gregson told a congressional hearing.

China says its rapidly growing military budget is for defensive purposes. Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged with US President Barack Obama at a November summit to promote the peaceful use of space.

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