News / Asia

    China Confirms Hypersonic Missile Delivery Test

    FILE - An undated photo shows a Chinese C-802 naval missile.
    FILE - An undated photo shows a Chinese C-802 naval missile.
    VOA News
    China has conducted an experimental flight of a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle designed to travel several times faster than the speed of sound.

    Beijing's Defense Ministry did not comment on the outcome of the test, which it called scientific in nature and not targeted at any particular country.

    Larry Wortzel, a commissioner with the U.S.- China Economic and Security Review Commission, said China's military development indicates it is clearly focused on one country as a potential adversary.

    "Chinese military planners really seem convinced that their most likely enemy and their greatest potential threat is the United States.  They have a lot of other concerns.  Things are not great with Russia even though they buy a lot.  Things are a lot worse with Japan.  But they focus on us [U.S.] and they focus on our [American] technology," Wortzel stated.

    The Pentagon confirmed, but would not comment on, the Chinese test, which comes as some in the U.S. worry about China's rapid military growth.

    Dan Blumenthal, Director, Asian Studies at American Enterprise Institute, said it is not longer credible to talk about conventional military capabilities in the Asia Pacific without talking about the conventional nuclear mix.

    "I think this is an area of deeply needed research, which is what exactly is China's nuclear policy today and given some of the things that are coming out, what kind of capability do they have and what kind of capability do we need to retain escalation control," said Blumenthal.

    If perfected, hypersonic technology could allow countries to strike targets anywhere in the world within minutes, bypassing missile defense systems.

    Experts said it is extremely difficult to master the technology needed to control the hypersonic vehicles, making it unclear how soon they will be ready for use.

    Charles Vick, a senior technical analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, says hypersonic technology is still in the development stage, but could be ready in five to 10 years.

    Vick told VOA it is difficult to track, detect and intercept a hypersonic vehicle, because it does not fly as high as ballistic missiles. "It is almost impossible to be shot down by existing anti-ballistic missile systems.  It is highly maneuverable and represents a real technological challenge to any anti-ballistic missile system in development or existence today."

    The United States is also developing, and has tested, hypersonic vehicles.  One of the vehicles, the Falcon HTV-2 is made by Lockheed Martin, which said it can travel at a speed of Mach 20.  Russia is also developing the technology.

    U.S. Pacific Command chief, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said Wednesday he is not particularly concerned about the Chinese test, but said it represents China's ability to develop new technologies.

    China has steadily increased its military expenditures as its economy expanded in recent decades, though it remains far outpaced by the United States in defense spending.
     
    VOA's Victor Beattie contributed to this report. This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.