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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China's 2016 launch of the first experimental quantum communications satellite represented a "notable advance in cryptography research," according to a Pentagon report to Congress released on Tuesday.

"The developer of the satellite claimed it has 'enormous prospects' in defence, moving China closer to more secure communications," the report said. It estimated total Chinese military spending in 2016 exceeded $180 billion.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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