“It was a spacecraft” – China denies hypersonic missile report
In August, Beijing is said to have tested a nuclear-weapon capable hypersonic missile. Now China has denied the report: it was only a matter of routine tests of a spacecraft. Meanwhile, a US MP warned of a new Cold War.
C.hina has denied a media report that the People’s Republic is said to have tested a hypersonic missile suitable for nuclear weapons. “It was a spacecraft, not a rocket,” said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday. It was about routine tests to test the technology for re-use of the spacecraft. That took place in July.
A representative in the US Congress interpreted the report on a Chinese test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile as a wake-up call. “This test should serve as a call to action,” said Republican Mike Gallagher on Sunday (local time). “If we stick to our current inactive course, (…) we will lose the new Cold War with communist China within this decade.”
Undermining US missile defense and threats of nuclear strikes
As the “Financial Times” reported on Saturday, citing five anonymous sources, Beijing is said to have tested a hypersonic missile capable of nuclear weapons in August. It circled the globe once in a low orbit before missing the target by about 15 kilometers. According to the report, the test should show that China’s military is already much more advanced with its hypersonic weapons program than US intelligence agencies had previously assumed. Hypersonic weapons are particularly difficult to intercept because they can reach more than five times the speed of sound.
According to Gallagher, China has increasing capabilities to undermine the US missile defense and even to threaten it with nuclear strikes. The Republican represents the US state of Wisconsin in the House of Representatives and sits on the important committee on the US armed forces.
Both the United States and Russia are currently working on hypersonic missiles. North Korea also stated that it tested a hypersonic missile in September. The Chinese Ministry of Defense in Beijing initially did not comment on the media report.