China reportedly tested a new hypersonic missile in August that “circumnavigated the globe before accelerating toward its target” as part of an unannounced launch, informs Financial Times citing various sources familiar with the evidence.
According to sources, the Chinese military would have launched a Long March with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) that passed through low orbit before descending towards its target.
While the missile would have missed about two dozen miles (about 38 kilometers), according to FT, the launch “caught US intelligence by surprise,” which has underestimated China’s military modernization by highlighting its “advanced spatial capability“.
“We have no idea how they did it,” confessed one of the sources consulted.
According to Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons, HGVs “fly in lower trajectories and can maneuver in flight, which makes them difficult to track and destroy“According to sources, in theory the missile could fly over the South Pole, posing a serious problem for Washington, whose defense systems focus on the north pole.
In recent months, tensions between the US and China over weapons have continued to rise, as both countries express concerns about accelerating military development.
“We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities that China continues to seek, capabilities that only will increase tensions in the region and beyond“US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told the Financial Times, stressing that this is one of the reasons why his country considers China one of the main “challenges”.
For their part, from Beijing they affirm that China’s military development does not target a specific country.
“We do not have a global strategy or military operations plan like the US and we are not interested in participating in an arms race with other countries,” Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the US, told the newspaper. “On the contrary, in recent years the US has invented excuses such as a ‘threat from China’ to justify its arms expansion and the development of hypersonic weapons, “the Chinese spokesman said. At the same time, he pointed out that US actions directly intensified the arms race and undermined global security stability.
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