The news of a hypersonic missile test was unveiled by the Financial Times in a bombshell report, citing five unnamed sources. The Chinese military allegedly conducted the launch back in August, in which a glide vehicle was deployed into low-earth orbit, where it circled the entire globe towards its target. And while the report emphasized that the missile purportedly missed its target by nearly two dozen miles, it nevertheless came as a big ‘surprise’ to the US intelligence community.
“We have no idea how they did this,” one source was cited as saying, while two others noted the test demonstrated that China had made “astounding progress” and was “far more advanced” in hypersonic weapons research than US officials thought.
The FT scoop triggered an avalanche of follow-up media reports, all citing the same unnamed officials, as well as speculations by military experts and pundits. But not a single acting US military or intelligence official went on record to corroborate the claims.
Chinese officials also kept silent on the issue. However, the Chinese state-backed outlet Global Times, often seen in the West as an unofficial ‘mouthpiece’ of Beijing, ran an editorial on Sunday, neither confirming nor denying the claims, but acknowledging that the US “generally has the ability to monitor global missile launches.”
“If the FT report is to be believed, it means that there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system, which is a new blow to the US’ mentality of strategic superiority over China,” it said. The paper went on to emphasize that “greater survivability and penetration ability of Chinese nuclear missiles is clearly being accelerated through a variety of new missiles.”
The Chinese publication also praised what it called an “unstoppable trend that China is narrowing the gap with the US in some key military technologies.”
China doesn’t need to engage in an ‘arms race’ with the US – it is capable of weakening the US’ overall advantages over China by developing military power at its own pace.
“China has no intention to engage in a nuclear arms race,” Global Times editor Hu Xijin added in a tweet. “But it’ll certainly improve quality of its nuclear deterrence to ensure that the US abandons the idea of nuclear blackmail against China, or using nuclear forces to fill the gap as US conventional forces cannot crush China.”
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In recent years, US officials repeatedly voiced concerns that hypersonic missiles being created by both Beijing and Moscow pose a significant threat to America’s national interests. Washington has redoubled its efforts to develop hypersonic tech after Moscow unveiled a whole range of advanced weaponry back in 2018. Russia has since become the first nation in the world to have deployed a hypersonic glide vehicle into service.
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