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US watching China's weapons development, Austin says, after hypersonic missile report

World

TBILISI, Georgia: United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday (Oct 18) that Washington was closely watching China's development of advanced weapons systems, while declining to comment directly on a report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile.

The Chinese foreign ministry denied the report in the Financial Times newspaper, which said that Beijing had launched a rocket in July carrying a hypersonic glide weapon. Beijing said it was a space vehicle, not a missile.

The US and Russia have both tested hypersonic weapons, usually defined as missiles which fly more than five times the speed of sound, in a race for a new generation of weapons that are harder to detect and block.

Austin told reporters during a visit to the former Soviet republic of Georgia: "We watch closely China's development of armament and advanced capab

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