The Pentagon has for the first time confirmed the test of a new Chinese hypersonic weapon system that can potentially bypass the American defense system.

Last August's test was “very close” to a “Sputnik moment,” said Mark Milley, chairman of the United Chiefs of Staff, in Washington on Wednesday with reference to the so-called Sputnik shock in 1957, the first flight that surprised the United States of a Soviet satellite in orbit.

Milley said it was "a very significant technological event" that the United States was following with "full attention."

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.

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Friederike Böge

Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.

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The "Financial Times" first reported on the test of a nuclear weapon-capable glide vehicle that China had carried into space with a launcher. The glider circled the earth in a low orbit at five times the speed of sound, but missed its target by 30 kilometers, the newspaper wrote. Beijing denied the report. It was a routine test for "reusable space technology," said a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing on Monday last week. Looking at Milley's remarks, another ministry spokesman on Thursday called on the United States to stop talking about China and treat the country like a potential enemy.

Meanwhile, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has confirmed the presence of a small number of American soldiers in Taiwan for the first time. In an interview with the American broadcaster CNN, when asked how many soldiers there were, "not as many as people think". According to the broadcaster, documents from the US Department of Defense show that 32 American soldiers were stationed in Taiwan this year. Tsai confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal from three weeks ago.

The Chinese party's newspaper Global Times wrote on Thursday that Tsai was the first Taiwanese president to confirm the presence of American troops.

In doing so, she crossed a red line and had to face consequences, according to the newspaper.

A spokesman for the defense ministry in Beijing threatened that China would "strike back" if the United States continued to expand military cooperation with Taiwan in the form of a "salami tactic." Breakthroughs ”in the development of new weapon systems.

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