China’s ‘hypersonic missile’ raises concerns over weakness in US defenses

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China’s ‘hypersonic missile’ raises concerns over weakness in US defenses

China: China’s reported launch of a hypersonic missile into orbit has raised concerns that US rivals are quickly neutralizing the Pentagon’s missile defenses even as it invests tens of billions of dollars in upgrades. In a test two months ago, the Chinese military sent a nuclear-capable missile into low-orbit space and around the globe before cruising down to its target, the citing people familiar with the matter. Although the weapon missed its mark by about two dozen miles, the paper said, the technology, once perfected, could be used to send nuclear warheads over the South Pole and around American anti-missile systems in the northern hemisphere. China disputed the paper’s account, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian describing it as a “routine test of a space vehicle to verify technology for spacecraft reusability” and comparing it with systems being developed by private companies. “China will work with other countries in the world for the peaceful use of space for the benefit of mankind, If the missile test is confirmed, it would suggest that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be exploring orbital strikes as a way to counter American advancements in shooting down ballistic missiles before they can threaten the US homeland. The Russians considered such “fractional orbital bombardment systems” during the Soviet era before abandoning them. But in 2018, Russia rolled out a series of new weapons that President Vladimir Putin said would render US missile defenses “ineffective.”