China war: How hypersonic nuke could strike anywhere on the planet

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China caught US intelligence by surprise by launching a rocket into space in August with alleged nuclear capabilities. US officials have expressed their alarm at this new development, with some commenting that the weapon was far more advanced than US officials realised. What are the capabilities of this new weapon?

China has denied that a rocket it tested in August had nuclear capabilities.

A spokesperson has dismissed these allegations as inaccurate, saying that it tested a space vehicle, not a nuclear-capable missile.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said in a media briefing: “This was not a missile, this was a spacecraft.”

He claimed that China had carried out a routine test to verify different types of reusable spacecraft technology.

He added: “This is of great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft use.”

But this goes against a report published by The Financial Times, which states that the rocket launched by Beijing was in fact a nuclear-capable missile.

The Financial Times said the missile had circled the Earth at a low orbit before it cruised back down.

The report claims three unnamed intelligence souces said the missile narrowly missed its target by about 24 miles.

Two others said China’s progress on hypersonic weapons was far more advanced than US officials realised.

Why is this development so concerning?

China’s development of this technology is so concerning as it happened right under the noses of US analysts.

One official said: “We have no idea how they [China] did this.”

The missile itself is of great concern, as it is designed to travel in low orbits, meaning it can dodge missile detection and defence systems more easily.

In theory, it would be able to bypass US anti-ballistic missile defence systems based in Alaska.

According to the Mail Online, this would allow “China to strike virtually anywhere on the planet with little or no warning.”

The Long March rocket reportedly carried a hypersonic glide vehicle, which would give it nuclear capabilities.

The speed at which China has been able to develop this technology has also sparked alarm.

China was known to be working on this technology, but the test took US intelligence by surprise.

China’s missile programs are far more advanced than previously feared.

In response to this development the US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, warned China: “We are watching you closely.”

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