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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has suggested China’s recent hypersonic weapon test could be a “Sputnik moment,” suggesting the United States is far behind in the race to the armaments of the 21st century.

What we saw was a very important event in a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very worrying“Milley said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s David Rubenstein Wednesday.”I don’t know if it’s a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to it.

He has our full attention.

Milley is the most senior official to appear to verify reports that China carried out a pair of hypersonic weapons tests over the summer. Originally reported by the Financial Times, which cited anonymous sources, news of the tests mentioned that one of the weapons had been launched into orbit and was capable of carrying a nuclear charge.

The CEO of Raytheon, one of the largest arms contractors to the United States, also admitted that the United States is significantly lagging China in the development of hypersonic weapons. Washington is “at least several years late“CEO Gregory Hayes said on Tuesday.

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China, however, has poured cold water on speculation about its hypersonic weapon capabilities, claiming it has only launched “reusable space vehicle. “

Milley appeared to recognize that China’s military superiority was inevitable, noting that “As we move forward – over the next 10, 20, 25 years – there is no doubt in my mind that the biggest geostrategic challenge for the United States will be China.,” he said.

Milley added that Beijing’s military development was “really importantAnd argued that its military budget – if one factor in the lower salaries of Chinese soldiers and defense contractors – was actually quite close to astronomical US military spending.
Milley sadly spoke to his Chinese counterparts in the final days of Trump’s presidency, reassuring Beijing that the Republican president had no plans to strike them militarily. He has been widely criticized for the move, and his critics have even described it as a betrayal of his office.

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Sputnik was the first satellite of the Soviet Union – and the world – whose launch in 1957 sowed fear in the heart of Cold War America when they realized that the possibility of losing the race to the space looked them in the face. When in reality “Sputnik 1” was nothing more than a metallic sphere with a radio transmitter, beeping on multiple frequencies as it circled the Earth for several weeks, it sparked a campaign fear among the British and American media, which speculated on the military implications of the launch.

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