Pentagon in frenzy as China shows off hypersonic missile that can’t be shot down

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China has denied it is secretly testing nuclear-capable hypersonic missile after leaked intelligence reports claimed it had built a new weapon to overpower the USA's defences.

Beijing reportedly tested a 21,000 mph carrier rocket capable of dropping nukes from space in secret back in August.

Five anonymous intelligence sources told the FT that the test had seen the hypersonic rocket fly into space, circle the globe at low orbit and smash into the ground 24 miles from its target.

The news sparked rumours of a new nuclear arms race which could see conventional early warning radars and defence systems completely overwhelmed by hypersonic weapons.

The US is one of eight countries currently developing hypersonic missiles, including Russia. These can travel faster five times faster than the speed of sound and be launched in seconds.

However, China has denied its August test was for a hypersonic missile. A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry said that it was actually a test for the country's 'peaceful' space programme.

Zhao Lijian said it was "a routine spacecraft test to verify reusable technology for a spacecraft. This is of great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft. It can provide a convenient and cheap way for people to use space peacefully."

The spokesperson added: "The spacecraft's supporting equipment will be separated from it before returning. The pieces will burn up and disintegrate in the process of falling back into the atmosphere, and fall into the ocean."

American private space companies SpaceX and Blue Origin both use reusable rockets for launching spacecraft as it drastically cuts fuel usage and costs. China itself uses the reusable Long March rocket to send crew and equipment to outer space.

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An editorial in China's Global Times said that either way, it showed an 'unstoppable trend' where China is "narrowing the gap" with the US in key military technologies.

It said: "[China has] no intention of launching a 'nuclear arms race with the US. However, China will certainly improve the quality of its nuclear deterrence to ensure that the US completely eliminates the idea of nuclear blackmail against China at any critical moment."

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The Pentagon has not commented on the alleged hypersonic missile test, but a spokesperson told Fox News that "we hold China as our number one pacing challenge."

Military tensions between the US and China are more heated than ever. China is beefing up its military capabilities in the South China Sea and reportedly gearing up for an invasion of Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the US flexed its muscles by steering a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week in a show of strength to the Pacific superpower.

  • Hypersonic
  • Space
  • China

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