China is on the verge of making a breakthrough in its nuclear arms capabilities that would amount to a major shift in global security balance, Admiral Charles Richard, the head of the US Strategic Command, has written in testimony prepared for a hearing on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
The official is scheduled to meet the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee at a closed-door hearing on Tuesday. China’s “breathtaking expansion” of its strategic nuclear arsenal means a rapidly escalating risk to Washington, Richard believes.
The admiral particularly refers to an intercontinental ballistic missile-launched hypersonic glider test Beijing conducted in July 2021. The operation saw the hypersonic vehicle flying some 40,000 kilometers for more than 100 minutes, according to the testimony. It was “the greatest distance and longest flight time of any land attack weapon system of any nation to date,” he supposedly said.