Beijing has mocked America by saying their secret test of a 21,000mph nuclear-capable missile, which orbited the globe before returning to Earth to strike its target, is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China‘.
The jibe follows a report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit.
It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which is missed by about two dozen miles, in a technological development that would overcome US anti-ballistic missile systems.
The incident caught the US intelligence community by surprise, sources say, as it shows ‘China has made astonishing progress on the development of its hypersonic weapons’.
One person familiar with the test said: ‘We have no idea how they did this.’
And to rub salt into their wounds, an op-ed in the Chinese state media outlet Global Times, Beijing’s mouthpiece, said the test means ‘there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system’, adding that this is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China’.
The hypersonic missiles can reach speeds of up to 21,000 mph and can strike anywhere on Earth from space within minutes.
The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defence systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole – the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south.
A report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit. It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles. The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defence systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole – the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south
This is the latest development in a terrifying arms race taking place in Asia as tensions between China and Taiwan continue to grow. China’s ministry of defence did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on Sunday.
Along with China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology, and last month North Korea said it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile.
At a 2019 parade, China showcased advancing weaponry including its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17.
Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on steep trajectories at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend against because they fly towards targets at lower altitudes but can achieve more than five times the speed of sound – or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).
The Pentagon did not comment on China’s testing of the hypersonic missile, but did acknowledge China as their ‘number one pacing challenge’.
We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond,’ John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Fox News. ‘That is one reason why we hold China as our number one pacing challenge.’
An op-ed in Beijing’s state media outlet Global Times said: ‘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 is important to note the unstoppable trend that China is narrowing the gap with the US in some key military technologies as China is continuously developing its economic and technological strength.’
‘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,’ the editorial added.
It comes as the Chinese military today condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.
China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year…