US risks 'losing new Cold War within a decade' after China nuke test

‘We will lose the New Cold War with Communist China within the decade’: Stark warning to the US after Chinese tested 3,800mph hypersonic nuke that dodges missile defences by orbiting Earth and can strike anywhere within minutes

  • China test-launched a hypersonic nuclear weapon back in August that is designed to dodge missile defences 
  • Weapon was carried into orbit on a rocket, before circling Earth and crashing down on a target at speeds of up to 3,800mph – though it missed by up to 24 miles, sources familiar with the test said 
  • Analysts caught off-guard by launch, which shows China’s missile tech is much-more advanced than thought
  • Mike Gallagher, a Republican member of the US armed services committee, blasted Biden as ‘complacent’ and said US risks losing out on new ‘Cold War’ arms race with China within the next decade 

America will lose a new Cold War arms race with China within a decade unless it takes a tougher stance with Beijing, a Republican congressman has warned after it was revealed the Chinese tested a new hypersonic nuke. 

Mike Gallagher, a member of the armed services committee, blasted the Biden administration for ‘complacency’ and said America needs to ‘aggressively’ re-think its relations with China after security sources revealed that Beijing launched a rocket that carried a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile into space back in August. 

While China was known to be working on the technology, the test took analysts by surprise and showed Beijing’s missile programme is more advanced than previously thought. ‘We have no idea how they did this,’ one said.

Issuing a stark warning after news of the test became public at the weekend, Mr Gallagher said: ‘If we stick to our current complacent course… we will lose the New Cold War with Communist China within the decade. 

‘The People’s Liberation Army now has an increasingly credible capability to undermine our missile defenses and threaten the American homeland with both conventional and nuclear strikes.’

A report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit. It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles. The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defence systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole – the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south

Pictured: China launches the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft on October 16, carried on the Long March-2F carrier rocket, to Chinese Tiangong space station

China carried out a test of the new hypersonic weapon back in August, according to the Financial Times, which said it was launched into space on a Long March 2C rocket.

Beijing has been regularly announcing launches of the rocket, including the 77th launch in July this year and the 79th launch in late August. But it never announced a 78th launch. It is now thought that rocket carried the nuke.

After being carried into space on a rocket, a hypersonic glide vehicle – of the kind that China has showed off before in military parades – is released into low-Earth orbit, circling the globe at speeds up to Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

During this flight it can be manoeuvered and repositioned before dropping out of orbit, crashing back down on to a target while avoiding missile detection systems and blind-siding defences designed to shoot it down.

While the Chinese test missile missed its intended target by some 24 miles – according to sources familiar with the test – the fact that it is so far along with the development of the weapon has caused alarm. 

After news of the test was made public, Beijing’s state media mocked America by saying it is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China‘.  

An op-ed in the Chinese state media outlet Global Times, Beijing’s mouthpiece, said the test means ‘there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system’, adding that this is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China’.  

This is the latest development in a terrifying arms race taking place in Asia as tensions between China and Taiwan continue to grow. China’s ministry of defence did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on Sunday.

Along with China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology, and last month North Korea said it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile.

At a 2019 parade, China showcased advancing weaponry including its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17.

Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on steep trajectories at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend against because they fly towards targets at lower altitudes but can achieve more than five times the speed of sound – or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph). 

The Pentagon did not comment on China’s testing of the hypersonic missile, but did acknowledge China as their ‘number one pacing challenge’. 

‘We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond,’ John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Fox News. ‘That is one reason why we hold China as our number one pacing challenge.’

An op-ed in Beijing’s state media outlet Global Times said: ‘If the FT report is to be believed, it means that there is a key new member in China’s nuclear deterrence system, which is a new blow to the US’ mentality of strategic superiority over China.

‘It is important to note the unstoppable trend that China is narrowing the gap with the US in some key military technologies as China is continuously developing its economic and technological strength.’

‘China doesn’t need to engage in an ‘arms race’ with the US – it is capable of weakening the US’ overall advantages over China by developing military power at its own pace,’ the editorial added. 

It comes as the Chinese military today condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year, provoking anger in Taipei.

China sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1 in a further heightening of tension between Beijing and Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.

The US military said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China along with the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.

‘Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ it added.

China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said its forces monitored the ships and ‘stood guard’ throughout their passage.

‘The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble… seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,’ it said.

‘Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.’

The US said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China on Thursday and Friday, an act China condemned (Pictured: USS Dewey file photo)

Pictured: The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Winnipeg which sailed through the Taiwan strait this week with USS Dewey

U.S. Navy ships have been transiting the strait roughly monthly, to the anger of Beijing, which has accused Washington of stoking regional tensions. U.S. allies occasionally also send ships through the strait, including Britain last month.

China strongly condemned Britain for sailing the warship through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, saying it was behaviour that ‘harboured evil intentions’ and that the Chinese military followed the vessel and warned it away. 

Earlier this month, Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth led a huge naval exercise in the Philippine Sea alongside US and Japanese aircraft carriers. 

While tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen, there has been no shooting and Chinese aircraft have not entered Taiwanese air space, concentrating their activity in the southwestern part of the ADIZ.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that three Chinese aircraft – two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft – flew into the ADIZ again 

China has dramatically stepped up its military operations around the island – flying 150 aircraft close-by in a huge show of force coinciding with the island’s National Day holiday.

Taiwan has warned that China will be ready for a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025, ramping up tensions further after the UK’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier led a huge naval exercise alongside the US and Japan in the region at the weekend 

At the same time, Beijing’s mouthpiece media has been warning that it is ‘only a matter of time’ before the island falls into their hands and that World War Three could be triggered ‘at any time’.

Yesterday. Chinese defense ministry spokesman Tan Kefei described Beijing’s military as an ‘high alert’ and ‘ready to fight any time’, according to Communist Party controlled newspaper The Global Times.

The spokesman insisted that Taiwan belongs to China and accused the US of ‘confusing white with black’ – pledging that ‘external interference’ would be beaten back. 

Another article warned that Taiwan was facing a ‘doomsday’, according to the Sun, and said the ‘hope of a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question is declining sharply’. 

Earlier this week, satellite images emerged showing how China has upgraded military air bases close to Taiwan, in the latest hint at potential invasion plans.

Three bases in Fujian province along China’s south-eastern coast have been upgraded or reinforced with improved defences that could boost Chinese efforts in the event of aerial conflict with Taiwan. 

The Longtian airbase (pictured) has been expanded and adapted for air defence sites. At least five storage bunkers are being constructed and new administrative buildings have popped up

At the Huian base bombproof aircraft shelters and hangers of a different design, including three most likely used for munitions storage, are visible in the satellite image

At the Zhangzhou base, home of the Eastern Theatre Command’s air force, a newly-constructed air defence site is visible as well as several new buildings

The images come after the People’s Liberation Army air force launched 149 sorties into Taiwanese air defence identification zone (ADIZ) from October 1 to 4 – a record number – amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan. 

Taken above the Longtian, Huian and Zhangzhou bases, the pictures reveal the construction of storage bunkers and new administrative buildings.

The pictures, taken by Planet Labs and first published by U.S. automotive and military website The Drive, show that construction work at the bases, where most of the infrastructure dates back to the 1980s, began in early 2020 and continued throughout the pandemic.

The Longtian airbase has been expanded and adapted for air defence sites. At least five storage bunkers are being constructed and new administrative buildings have popped up.

The image of the base, taken on October 2, also shows an expanded apron and four hardened aircraft shelters under construction. The shelters are directly connected to the runway for quick dispersal, according to a label on the image. 

At the nearby Huian base bombproof aircraft shelters and hangers of a different design, including three most likely used for munitions storage according to Planet Labs, are visible in the satellite image.

While at the Zhangzhou base, home of the Eastern Theatre Command’s air force, a newly-constructed air defence site is visible as well as several new buildings. 

Antony Wong Tong, a Macau-based military expert, told the South China Morning Post that the upgrades offer clues about how the bases might be used in a potential future conflict with Taiwan. 

‘Longtian looks like it will be used as an alternate aerodrome after massive refurbishment, while the four new hardened aircraft shelters and the existing functional 24 aircraft sunshade shelters in Huian airbase tell us it will be able to house a full-scale aviation brigade,’ he said.  

Reports of the improvements follow previously reported upgrades at other Chinese military bases and come amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan. 

China claims the self-governing island off its east coast as its territory, and says Taiwan must eventually come under its control and reserves the right to use force if necessary, according to AP.

Last week, Taiwan’s president said the territory will not bow to pressure from Beijing and will defend its democratic way of life.   

Taiwan’s national day celebrations at the weekend were a rare show of Taiwanese defence capabilities in the annual parade and underlined Tsai’s promise to resist China’s military threats

Taiwanese honor guards take part in a parade marking National Day in Taipei on Sunday amid heightened tensions with China

‘The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China,’ President Tsai Ing-wen said in a speech marking Taiwan’s National Day on Sunday in the capital of Taipei, adding: ‘Nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us.’

The National Day celebrations were a rare show of Taiwanese defence capabilities in the annual parade and underlined Tsai’s promise to resist China’s military threats.   

The president added: ‘We hope for an easing of… relations [with Beijing] and will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure.

‘We will continue to bolster our national defence and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us.’

Chinese President Xi Jinping broke off official communication with Taipei following Tsai’s election five years ago, and has since ramped up economic, diplomatic and military pressure.

The latest flare-up was marked by the surge in flights by Chinese fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers into Taiwan’s ADIZ earlier this month.  

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