Chinese missile launch very concerning, says top US general

China’s reported hypersonic missile test, according to a top US general, is “near to a Sputnik moment,” alluding to the Soviet satellite launch that started a Cold War weapons race.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley stated that the Chinese military is “growing rapidly.”

According to the Financial Times, the US military was taken aback by the test.

Beijing claims the test was a spaceship rather than a missile.

“What we witnessed was a historically momentous test of a hypersonic weapon system. It’s also quite troubling “Bloomberg quoted Gen. Milley as saying.

“I’m not sure if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I believe it’s near. It has our undivided attention.”

His remark is the United States’ first public acknowledgement of claims that China conducted two missile tests this summer. According to reports, it was a nuclear-armed missile capable of eluding US air defence systems.

Sputnik, the Soviet satellite launched in 1957, astounded Americans, who believed the Soviets were gaining technological advantage.

The event prompted President John F. Kennedy to declare that the United States will place men on the Moon in less than a decade.

“This is not a technology that is alien to us, that we haven’t been thinking about for a while,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said of the general’s statements.

He went on to say that the US was strengthening its defence systems and developing its own hypersonic capabilities.

Hypersonic missiles have a maximum speed of five times that of sound.

They are thought to be more manoeuvrable than conventional missiles and capable of dodging air defence interceptions.

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