US General Very Concerned Over China’s Hypersonic Weapon Test

The top American military officer confirmed reports that China was testing a hypersonic weapon system. He called the test a “deeply concerning” development reminiscent of the moment Russia launched the world’s first artificial satellite in the 1950s.

“What we are witnessing is a very significant event of a hypersonic weapon system test. Very concerning,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

“I don’t know if it’s a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very similar. This concerns all of us,” he added.

The Financial Times first reported on China’s hypersonic weapons tests. The daily quoted an unnamed official as saying that the summer’s test had taken American intelligence officials by surprise. The weapon, which got into orbit after being launched by the rocket, is reported to be capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

Although the weapon missed its target by several kilometers, the July 27 test marked the first time a country has sent a hypersonic weapon fully circumnavigating Earth, according to the daily. Hypersonic weapons travel five times faster than the speed of sound.

China denies having carried out a hypersonic missile test. The country says it has tested a reusable spacecraft.

Milley also said America was experimenting with weapons of its own, including hypersonics, artificial intelligence and robotics. He added that China’s military would be “very significant.”

The Chinese military “has gone from a very large peasant-based infantry army in 1979 to a very capable military that covers all domains. That country has global ambitions,” Milley said. [ka/jm]

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