A Chinese military build-up has raised regional jitters. Many
countries in Asia have welcomed a stated U.S. intention to shift
more attention and military assets back to the region. They are
beefing up military spending and ties with Washington.
"Our planned scientific research tests conducted in our territory
are normal," the Beijing Defence Ministry said in a faxed response
to Reuters. "These tests are not targeted at any country and at any
The statement confirmed a report by the online Washington Free
Beacon newspaper that the hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) was
detected flying at 10 times the speed of sound over China last week.
A spokesman for the Pentagon said it was aware of the test.
"We routinely monitor foreign defence activities and we are aware of
this test," said Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, a Pentagon
"However, we don't comment on our intelligence or assessments of
foreign weapon systems. We encourage greater (Chinese) transparency
regarding their defence investments and objectives to avoid
miscalculation," he said.
The Free Beacon said the test made China the second country after
the United States to have successfully tested a hypersonic delivery
vehicle able to carry nuclear warheads at a speed above Mach 10 — or
12,359 kilometers per hour (7,675 mph).
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Three decades of double-digit, annual increases in military spending
have accelerated Beijing's ambitious build-up and allowed Chinese
defence factories to boost the quality and performance of home-grown
weapons and military hardware.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; additional reporting by Phil Stewart in
Washington; editing by Mark Heinrich and Paul Tait)
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