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China celebrates new nuclear-capable 21,000mph missile that can circle Earth in low orbit before striking anywhere from space in MINUTES

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Beijing has mocked America by saying their secret test of a 21,000mph nuclear-capable missile, which orbited the globe before returning to Earth to strike its target, is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China‘.

The jibe follows a report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit.

It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which is missed by about two dozen miles, in a technological development that would overcome US anti-ballistic missile systems.

The incident caught the US intelligence community by surprise, sources say, as it shows ‘China has made astonishing progress on the development of its hypersonic weapons’.

One person familiar with the test said: ‘We have no idea how they did this.’

And to rub salt into their wounds, an op-ed in the Chinese state media outlet Global Times, Beijing’s mouthpiece, said the test means ‘there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system’, adding that this is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China’.

The hypersonic missiles can reach speeds of up to 21,000 mph and can strike anywhere on Earth from space within minutes.

The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defence systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole – the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south.

A report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a 'hypersonic glide vehicle' into low orbit. It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles. The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defence systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole - the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south

Shenzhou-13 spacecraft is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on October 16

a Long March-2F carrier rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft, sitting at the launching area at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the country's northwestern Gansu province

a Long March-2F carrier rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft, sitting at the launching area at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the country's northwestern Gansu province

Pictured: China launches the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft on October 16, carried on the Long March-2F carrier rocket, to Chinese Tiangong space station

This is the latest development in a terrifying arms race taking place in Asia as tensions between China and Taiwan continue to grow. China’s ministry of defence did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on Sunday.

Along with China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology, and last month North Korea said it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile.

At a 2019 parade, China showcased advancing weaponry including its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17.

Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on steep trajectories at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend against because they fly towards targets at lower altitudes but can achieve more than five times the speed of sound – or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).

The Pentagon did not comment on China’s testing of the hypersonic missile, but did acknowledge China as their ‘number one pacing challenge’.

‘We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond,’ John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Fox News. ‘That is one reason why we hold China as our number one pacing challenge.’

An op-ed in Beijing’s state media outlet Global Times said: ‘If the FT report is to be believed, it means that there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system, which is a new blow to the US’ mentality of strategic superiority over China.

‘It is important to note the unstoppable trend that China is narrowing the gap with the US in some key military technologies as China is continuously developing its economic and technological strength.’

‘China doesn’t need to engage in an ‘arms race’ with the US – it is capable of weakening the US’ overall advantages over China by developing military power at its own pace,’ the editorial added.

It comes as the Chinese military today condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year, provoking anger in Taipei.

China sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1 in a further heightening of tension between Beijing and Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.

The US military said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China along with the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.

‘Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ it added.

China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said its forces monitored the ships and ‘stood guard’ throughout their passage.

‘The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble… seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,’ it said.

‘Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.’

The US said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China on Thursday and Friday, an act China condemned (Pictured: USS Dewey file photo)

Pictured: The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Winnipeg which sailed through the Taiwan strait this week with USS Dewey

U.S. Navy ships have been transiting the strait roughly monthly, to the anger of Beijing, which has accused Washington of stoking regional tensions. U.S. allies occasionally also send ships through the strait, including Britain last month.

China strongly condemned Britain for sailing the warship through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, saying it was behaviour that ‘harboured evil intentions’ and that the Chinese military followed the vessel and warned it away.

Earlier this month, Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth led a huge naval exercise in the Philippine Sea alongside US and Japanese aircraft carriers.

While tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen, there has been no shooting and Chinese aircraft have not entered Taiwanese air space, concentrating their activity in the southwestern part of the ADIZ.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that three Chinese aircraft – two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft – flew into the ADIZ again

China has dramatically stepped up its military operations around the island – flying 150 aircraft close-by in a huge show of force coinciding with the island’s National Day holiday.

Taiwan has warned that China will be ready for a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025, ramping up tensions further after the UK's Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier led a huge naval exercise alongside the US and Japan in the region at the weekend

At the same time, Beijing’s mouthpiece media has been warning that it is ‘only a matter of time’ before the island falls into their hands and that World War Three could be triggered ‘at any time’.

Yesterday. Chinese defense ministry spokesman Tan Kefei described Beijing’s military as an ‘high alert’ and ‘ready to fight any time’, according to Communist Party controlled newspaper The Global Times.

The spokesman insisted that Taiwan belongs to China and accused the US of ‘confusing white with black’ – pledging that ‘external interference’ would be beaten back.

Another article warned that Taiwan was facing a ‘doomsday’, according to the Sun, and said the ‘hope of a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question is declining sharply’.

Earlier this week, satellite images emerged showing how China has upgraded military air bases close to Taiwan, in the latest hint at potential invasion plans.

Three bases in Fujian province along China’s south-eastern coast have been upgraded or reinforced with improved defences that could boost Chinese efforts in the event of aerial conflict with Taiwan.

 

 

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About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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