A top Pentagon official sat down with CBS News to discuss why he’s “very concerned” about China’s rapid military buildup and hypersonic weapon development.
Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John Hyten spoke with CBS News’ David Martin and said China’s recent hypersonic missile test that went around the world “is a very significant capability that has the potential to change a lot of things.”
Hyten, the second-highest-ranking officer in the military, said the Chinese “launched a long-range missile, it went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle and glided back to China. That impacted a target in China.”
Martin asked Hyten did the hypersonic weapon hit the target. The military commander said, “close enough.”
Hyten questions why China is building hypersonic weapons, indicating it “looks like a first use weapon,” adding “that what those weapons look like to me.”
China is also building hundreds of new missile silos that some may be stocked with hypersonic weapons one day. He believes the Chinese are developing technology to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the US.
The only other account of the hypersonic weapon test has been through multiple FT stories citing various sources. This interview is the first time a top US military official has given their account of what happened over the summer.
Ever since FT broke the weapons test last month, Beijing has denied the report, saying “it was not a missile, it was a space vehicle.”
John Kirby, the Department of Defense press secretary, recently said the Pentagon views China as a great challenger as both countries race towards developing and fielding hypersonic weapons that fly multiple times faster than sound.
Hyten also added that China conducted hundreds of hypersonic weapons tests in the last five years while the US has only conducted nine.
Watch to the interview here.
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