U.S. concerned about report that China tested nuclear-capable hypersonic missile
Updated: 2021-10-19 12:05:23 KST
The U.S. government has expressed concern over reports China recently tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.
Quoting numerous sources familiar with the matter, the Financial Times said Beijing tested the weapon in August, and that it caught U.S. intelligence by surprise.
In response, Washington's disarmament ambassador Robert Wood expressed deep concern while speaking in Geneva, adding no country knows how to detect or intercept such advanced technology at the current time.
Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend against as they fly at lower altitudes than ballistic missiles, but at over five times the speed of sound.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Washington is closely monitoring China's development of armaments and advanced military technology, but he refused to comment directly on the report in the Financial Times.
White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, also said the Biden administration is concerned about the report, but stressed that U.S. policy toward China remains consistent.
"Generally speaking, we've made clear, are concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue, and we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not, do not want that competition to veer into conflict. And that is certainly what we convey privately as well."
China's foreign ministry denied the report, instead claiming it was a routine test of a space vehicle.
"It is a routine test of spacecraft to verify the reusability technology of the vehicle. This is of great significance for reducing the use-cost of spacecraft and could provide a convenient and affordable way to make a round trip for mankind's peaceful use of space."
The spokesperson also said the trial happened in July, not August, adding many countries have conducted similar tests.
China's space program is run by the Chinese military, and thus is closely tied to its agenda of developing hypersonic missiles and other next-generation tech that could possibly upset the balance of power with the U.S.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.