January 30, 2023

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China denies nuclear weapons test; Understand why the episode alerted the world

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Photo caption,

China demonstrated hypersonic missiles at this year’s military parade

China on Monday denied reports that it had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in the middle of this year, saying the tests in July were routine tests on the aircraft.

A Financial Times report on the trials caused concern in Washington, where intelligence agencies were taken by surprise.

Hypersonic missiles are much faster and more agile than normal speed, making them harder to intercept.

The report of the alleged hypersonic nuclear missile comes at a time of growing concerns about China’s nuclear capabilities.

The Chinese government held a press conference on Monday to address the issue. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Legion said a routine test was conducted in July to test various types of reusable spacecraft technology.

“It’s not a missile, it’s a spacecraft,” Zhao said. “Tests are very important to reduce the cost of the spacecraft.”

Zhao said many countries have conducted similar tests in the past. When asked if the Financial Times report was incorrect, he said yes.

The report, released Saturday, cited five unnamed sources as saying that the hypersonic missile was launched in the middle of the year. According to the sources cited in the report, it would have gone into low orbit before landing and lost its target.

“The test shows that China has made amazing progress in hypersonic weapons and is far more advanced than US officials could have imagined,” the Financial Times report said.

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Photo caption,

China is investing heavily in expanding its military power

Gallagher, a Republican and a member of the House Armed Forces Committee, said Washington would “lose a new Cold War with China in ten years” if it adopts the current approach.

Relations between the United States and China have deteriorated, with Beijing accusing President Joe Biden’s government of being hostile.

Other Western nations have also expressed concern about China’s recent military presence.

Michael Schubridge, director of defense, strategy and national defense at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says the hypersonic missile test is in line with Beijing’s growing trend of “nuclear weapons and other assault weapons.”

“I don’t think it’s more significant than China’s growing missile silos, airborne nuclear weapons or new submarine nuclear weapons,” he says. “It applies to a system that increases nuclear capability [sem] Transparency about it. “

“Transparency is a foreign concept for Beijing’s strategic thinkers,” he says.

China, the United States, Russia and at least five countries work on hypersonic missile technology.

They can fly at five times the speed of sound and can propel a nuclear weapon.

Last month, North Korea said it had successfully tested a new hypersonic missile. In July, Russia issued a similar announcement saying its missile had been launched from a warship in the White Sea off Russia’s northwest coast.

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