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China tests a nuclear hypersonic missile that stuns US Intelligence

AsiaChina tests a nuclear hypersonic missile that stuns US Intelligence

China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target.

Demonstrating an advanced space capability in the nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, it stunned the US intelligence the Financial Times reported, citing the United States, Russia, and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology.

The report late on Saturday said the Chinese military launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle that flew through low-orbit space, circling the globe before cruising towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles.

“The test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realized,” the report said, citing people briefed on the intelligence.

China’s ministry of defense did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment from Reuters on Sunday.

The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic missiles, 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).

Countries like the United States have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, but the ability to track and take down a hypersonic missile remains a question.

China has been aggressively expanding the technology, seeing it as crucial to defend against the US gains in hypersonic and other technologies, according to a recent report by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The reported test comes as US-China tensions have mounted and Beijing has stepped up military activity near Taiwan, the self-ruling US-aligned democracy that Beijing considers a province awaiting reunification.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment on the FT report.

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