A senior U.S. military official said Washington is paying close attention to China’s efforts to build up its own military arsenal, but declined to comment on reports that Beijing took a major step forward with a hypersonic missile test two months ago.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters during a visit to Tbilisi, Georgia on Monday that China remains his “serious challenge” and that his military successes are cause for concern.
“We are closely monitoring China’s development in the area of weapons, advanced capabilities and systems that will only increase tensions in the region,” he said, without providing further details.
The Financial Times reported on Saturday that China tested a hypersonic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead in August, catching US military and intelligence officials by surprise.
But on Monday, China denied it was testing a hypersonic rocket, saying it actually tested a reusable spacecraft.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the spacecraft technology could reduce costs and provide an affordable way for people to use space peacefully.
Some of the information for this report came from the Associated Press, AFP and Reuters.