China test flew missile around world before detection, says Trump

This article is over 9 months old Donald Trump has said a test of China’s hypersonic missile system went around the world before its detection, a comment that appeared to contravene the secretive’s US…

China test flew missile around world before detection, says Trump

This article is over 9 months old

Donald Trump has said a test of China’s hypersonic missile system went around the world before its detection, a comment that appeared to contravene the secretive’s US ally Taiwan’s strict secrecy on the missile.

Chuck Hagel, a former US defence secretary, appeared to suggest the China tested its ICBM before it was detected by US intelligence.

The Washington Post quoted Hagel as saying: “It travelled around the world, we don’t know the final destination. It probably ended up in somebody’s hands.”

China is increasing its efforts to build a hypersonic weapon capable of attacking the US. An estimated 4-5 hypersonic weapons programmes are working simultaneously on secret projects by the US, Russia, China and Europe.

The vice-president, Mike Pence, said during a March 2016 trip to China he had ordered the US intelligence community to collect more data on hypersonic missiles, known as hypro-rockets.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has made it a priority for China to develop a hypersonic weapon capable of travelling at hundreds of miles per hour.

“Hypersonic technology is a key element of the Chinese military’s advanced aerospace force,” says Zheng Baigang, a professor of strategic and international studies at Peking University and an expert on hypersonic weapons.

In November 2017, Vice President Xi Jinping said China would develop an intercontinental hypersonic missile to challenge the west.

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The US national security adviser, H R McMaster, added to concerns about Chinese hypersonic systems during an interview with Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum last week.

He said: “I think the Chinese are making a commitment to me that they’re going to be putting their best effort into developing hypersonic missiles.”

China’s arsenal includes the DF-21D intermediate range ballistic missile, seen as a key part of its asymmetric military strategy against the US.

The test of its hypersonic cruise missile earlier this week fuelled new concerns about the development.

A test of a hypersonic missile in January 2017 came within one nautical mile of a US Navy destroyer sailing in a maritime protected zone around the contested Spratly Islands.

The US Pacific command said that test came at a time when China was increasing its military presence and activities in the region, and has urged China to play a “responsible” role by respecting international rules and norms.

China is Taiwan’s most important ally and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.

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