White House mum on reports of China testing nuclear missile, says admin welcomes 'stiff competition'

Posted 43 days ago


White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday would not comment on reports that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, but instead said the United States welcomes "stiff competition," while maintaining that the Biden administration does "not want that competition to veer into conflict."

Reports over the weekend surfaced that China launched a missile in August, which then circled the globe before speeding towards its target, which it missed by about two-dozen miles. The move reportedly caught U. S. intelligence officials by surprise.

When asked about those reports Monday during the White House press briefing, Psaki pointed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's comments on the matter earlier in the day.

"I know general, Secretary Austin, I should say, was asked this question this morning and addressed it," Psaki said. "I'm not going to comment on this specific report."

"I can say, and echo what he said, which is, generally speaking, we have made clear our concern about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue, and we've been consistent in our approach with China," Psaki said.

"We welcome stiff competition, but we do not want that competition to veer into conflict, and that is certainly what we convey privately as well," she added.

Earlier in the day, Austin said he wouldn't comment on the specific reports, but said: "We watch closely China’s development of armaments and advanced capabilities and systems that will only increase tensions in the region."

China said Monday its launch of a new spacecraft was merely a test to see whether the vehicle could be re-used, according to the Associated Press.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the launch involved a spacecraft rather than a missile and was of "great significance for reducing the use-cost of spacecraft and could provide a convenient and affordable way to make a round trip for mankind’s peaceful use of space."

China’s space program is run by its military and is closely tied to its agenda of building hypersonic missiles and other technologies that could alter the balance of power wit... (Read more)