Was it a spacecraft or a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile?
China was reported to test a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, but on Monday, the Foreign Minister, Zhao Lijian has refuted the claim and has stated that it was a “routine spacecraft experiment.”
According to an anonymous source reported by The Financial Times in a Sunday report, “China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise.”
However, in a regular press briefing on Monday, Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Minister refuted the claim and stated, “This test was a routine spacecraft experiment to verify the reusable technology of spacecraft, which is of great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft use. It can provide a convenient and cheap way for humans to use space peacefully. Many companies in the world have carried out similar experiments. What separated from the spacecraft before returning was the supporting equipment of the spacecraft, which was burned and disintegrated in the process of falling into the atmosphere and landed on the high seas.”
He further added, “China will work together with other countries in the world to benefit mankind in the peaceful use of space.”
As the news spread in America, a Republican member of the US Armed Services Committee, Mike Gallagher, believes that the alleged testing of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile by China “serves as a call to action.”
He further added that if the Biden administration doesn’t change its “current complacent course,” The US might “lose the new Cold War with Communist China within the decade.”
As the global tension increases, three powerful countries, America, Russia and China are competing to develop hypersonic weapons.
Currently, China has already tested its very first hypersonic weapon – DFZF in 2014, which has been tested nine times (minimum count) since 2014 as per the report by Congressional Research Service.
On the other hand, Russia passed the first test of its hypersonic weapons in 2016, while the US is still focusing on developing weaponry that could be used not only in air and on land, but ships as well.