National Security

Psaki Responds To China’s New Nuclear-Capable, Advanced Missile Tech That Reportedly Rattled US Intelligence

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to reports of China’s new nuclear-capable hypersonic missile technology, which reportedly took U.S. military and intelligence officials by surprise, during a Monday press briefing.

“I know Secretary [Llloyd] Austin was asked this question this morning and addressed it, but I’m not going to comment on the specific report,” Psaki said in response to a question by The Associated Press’ Alexandra Jaffe on the matter.

“I can say — and echo what he said — which is, generally speaking, we’ve made clear our concerns about the military capabilities that the [People’s Republic of China] continues to pursue, and we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not want that competition to veer into conflict,” she continued.


China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the entire globe in low-orbit before aiming for its target, sources familiar with the test told the Financial Times, which first reported the matter Saturday. The missile missed its target but sources said the test demonstrated China’s hypersonic missile technology is far more advanced than the U.S. initially thought.

U.S. military and intelligence officials have warned about China’s growing nuclear capabilities in recent months. Tensions between the U.S. and China have grown, especially as Beijing continues to build up its conventional military forces and engages in more assertive military activity near Taiwan. (RELATED: US Cybersecurity At A ‘Kindergarten Level’ Compared To China, Former Pentagon Official Says)

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian denied the report at a Monday press conference, instead claiming that the August launch was “a routine spacecraft experiment” and not a missile test.

Austin, who is in the European country of Georgia on an official visit as defense secretary, also did not comment on the Financial Times report. But he noted at a press conference earlier Monday that the U.S. is closely watching China’s “development of armaments and advanced capabilities,” reiterating that China “is a challenge” the U.S. will “remain focused on.”