Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Sputknit moment… very concerned” over China’s hypersonic missile

“It could bypass the U.S. missile defense system.”

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[아시아경제 김수환 기자] Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed great concern over China’s hypersonic missile test, saying it was “close to the sputnik moment.”

It is evaluated that the news that China is developing a weapon to bypass the U.S. defense system as it recently conducted a hypersonic missile test has revealed a sense of crisis about the current U.S. defense power.

“What we’ve seen is a very significant event of testing a hypersonic weapon system,” Milley said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on the 27th (local time).

“I don’t know if this is the Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close,” he said, adding that the Chinese test caught everyone’s attention.

The term ‘Sputnik Moment’ comes from the fact that in October 1957, the former Soviet Union launched the world’s first artificial satellite Sputnik 1, which shocked the West, including the United States. At that time, the United States, which was complacent with its technological superiority, entered the space race in earnest.

Earlier, major foreign media reported that China had test-fired hypersonic missiles twice in July and August.

The Chinese government has denied reports about the test, saying it was a regular spacecraft test and verified the spacecraft’s reusable technology.

So far, the US government has not officially confirmed these reports. The fact that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff officially acknowledged China’s hypersonic missile tests on the same day is interpreted as revealing that China’s missile system is highly alert.

Experts point out that the reason China’s hypersonic missiles can bypass the U.S. defense system is that they fly at more than five times the speed of sound.

In addition, the hypersonic missile that China tested in July is said to be capable of decelerating a nuclear warhead placed in partial orbit using a reverse-propelled rocket in the sky near the target point using the ‘partial orbit bombardment system’ promoted during the Cold War in the past.

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Due to these characteristics, hypersonic missiles are called next-generation game changers because they can neutralize missile defenses. For this reason, the United States, China, Russia, etc. are spurring technology development and heating up the test launch.

Last month, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall expressed concern, saying that “hypersonic missiles could bypass both missile defenses and warning systems,” and that “bombing from space is possible.”

Officials warned that China could use hypersonic missiles to bomb major U.S. ports and coastal military installations in addition to nuclear strikes.

North Korea also drew attention after claiming that it successfully conducted a test launch of a newly developed hypersonic missile Hwasong-8 at the end of last month.

Milley also expressed concern that China’s capabilities in space and cyberspace, as well as the traditional land, sea and air force, are improving.

“There is no doubt that China will be the biggest geopolitical challenge for the United States in the next 10, 20 or 25 years,” he said.

Greg Hayes, chief executive officer of US defense firm Raytheon, said the day before that the US is at least a few years behind China in developing hypersonic technology.


Reporter Kim Soo-hwan [email protected]


Source: 아시아경제신문 실시간 속보 by www.asiae.co.kr.

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