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China tested hypersonic missile, takes US intelligence by surprise

The missile missed its target by about 24 miles

China-flag-chinese-AP Representational image | AP

China tested a hyper-capable supersonic missile in August, which circled the globe before reaching its target. As per a Financial Times report, the testing, which was kept as a secret by China, caught the US security establishment by surprise.

The missile missed its target by about 24 miles. In circling the globe, the missile demonstrated an advanced space capability.

The Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle that flew through low-orbit space before cruising down toward its target, the FT report read. People familiar with the testing said the “test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised”.

It is not the first time that a hypersonic missile is being tested. Several nations have tested hypersonic missiles. "We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond. That is one reason why we hold China as our number one pacing challenge," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told the Financial Times.

Chinese embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said China always pursued a military policy that was "defensive in nature" and its military development did not target any country. Since hypersonic missiles travel at a speed of 6,200 km per hour and fly toward their targets at low altitudes, they can be difficult to defend against.

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