US scrutinizes China after reports of hypersonic missile tests

The top US military official said Washington was watching China’s efforts to build up its military arsenal. But he declined to comment on reports that Beijing took a major step two months ago by testing a hypersonic missile.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters during a visit to Tblisi, Georgia on Monday that China remains a “major rival” and that its military advances are a matter of concern.

“We are watching China’s weapons development and increasing capabilities and systems only increase tensions in the region,” he said, without elaborating.

Financial Times pThere was a Saturday (16/10) report that China had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, surprising US military and intelligence officials.

But China on Monday denied that it had conducted a hypersonic missile test, saying it was actually testing a multi-use spacecraft.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the spacecraft’s technology would allow costs to be reduced and provide a more affordable way for humans to use space safely. [vm/jm]

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