One of the nation’s top military generals is sounding the alarm after China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, warning that the Chinese Communist Party will soon surpass American military capability “if we don’t do something to change it.”
“What you need to be worried about is that in the last five years, or maybe longer, the United States has done nine hypersonic missile tests, and in the same time the Chinese have done hundreds,” Gen. John Hyten said at a Defense Writers Group roundtable, according to multiple reports.
Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that being in single digits of tests versus hundreds “is not a good place.”
Because of China’s rapid pace, the general said the US will probably have to do something.
“The pace they’re moving and the trajectory they’re on will surpass Russia and the United States if we don’t do something to change it. It will happen.”
Hyten’s concerns come the same week the highest-ranking US general shared similar concerns about the possible recent hypersonic missile tests.
During an interview with “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” on Bloomberg Television, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called China’s hypersonic missile test “very concerning.”
“What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning,” Milley said. “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. It has all of our attention.”
While the top US general avoided making a complete comparison between the test and Sputnik — the first artificial satellite launched into low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union, which in 1957 sparked the space race between the US and USSR — Milley called China’s military “very capable.”
“They’re expanding rapidly — in space, in cyber and then in the traditional domains of land, sea and air,” he said. “And they have gone from a peasant-based infantry army that was very, very large in 1979 to a very capable military that covers all the domains and has global ambitions.”
“As we go forward — over the next 10, 20, 25 years — there’s no question in my mind that the biggest geostrategic challenge to the United States is gonna be China,” Milley continued. “They’ve developed a military that’s really significant.”
The potential missile test in question apparently occurred in mid-August and sent a rocket to circle the globe before narrowly missing its target. The test was first reported by the Financial Times.
China has claimed the event was a space mission, not a missile test.
While the Biden administration has also voiced concerns over the reports, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week the administration welcomes “stiff competition.”