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China's pursuit of ultrasonic weapons, according to US defense secretary, has been criticized by China's stance on hypersonic weapons

China's pursuit of ultrasonic weapons, according to US defense secretary, has been criticized by China's stance on hypersonic weapons

SEOUL The defense chief of America rebuked China on Thursday, vowing to face its potential military risks in Asia, and warning that its pursuit of hypersonic weapons intended to evade US missile defenses increases tensions in the region.

What should Washington and its partners do with a Chinese military that is bolstering both in sheer firepower and confidence as it seeks to put an end to American dominance in Asia? Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's stern comments after annual security talks with South Korea, a top US ally, serve as a window into one of the Biden administration's key foreign policy concerns: How should Washington and its partners incorporate a Chinese military that is strengthening both in sheer firepower and confidence as it pursue

Austin's remarks were directed at China's July test of a hypersonic weapon capable of partially orbiting Earth before escaping the atmosphere and gliding on a moving path to its target, although many in the region warn of a pattern of Chinese interference, accompanied by moves to acquire the weapons needed to dominate its rivals.

Experts claim that the weapons system is clearly designed to evade US missile defenses, but China emphasized that it was testing a reusable space vehicle rather than a missile.

We have concerns about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue, and the pursuit of those capabilities increases tensions in the region, Austin said about the hypersonic weapons test, utilizing the language for the Peoples Republic of China, the country's official name.

"We'll continue to maintain the capabilities to defend and deter against a range of possible threats from the PRC to ourselves and our partners," he added.

The Pentagon disclosed on Monday the results of a global posture review that calls for greater cooperation with allies in order to counter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated last month that the United States is also working on hypersonic weapons, but there was worry in Washington that the United States is trailing behind China and Russia in pursuing such weapons. Russia stated Monday that its navy successfully tested a prospective hypersonic cruise missile.

Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, may pose critical challenges to missile defense systems due to their speed and maneuverability, according to some experts. They would however add little to America's capability to prevent conflict and anticipate a new, destabilizing arms race.

Austin also addressed another major US worry, North Korea.

Austin said the allies remain committed to a diplomatic approach to North Korea, and he agreed with South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook.

Suh stated that the two agreed on a document to include joint contingency plans in the event of a war on the peninsula to reflect North Korean threats and other conditions, but did not elaborate on the documents details.

The nuclear arsenal in North Korea is said to have grown significantly in recent years, according to reports.

North Korea claimed to have the capacity to launch nuclear strikes on the American homeland after a series of high-profile missile and nuclear tests in 2016-17, according to a 2018 South Korean estimate. North Korea has produced up to 60 nuclear weapons.

Despite serious economic problems linked to the epidemic, North Korea has repeatedly rejected US proposals to restart disarmament talks, saying Washington must first abandon its foes. The Biden administration states that international sanctions on North Korea will stay in place until the nation makes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

According to a joint statement, Austin highlighted a US commitment to maintain the present level of US forces in the United States to discourage potential North Korea invasion.

The alliance, formed during the 1950-53 Korean War, was recently tested, as then-President Trump threatened to pull US troops out of South Korea if Seoul did not dramatically increase its financial support for them. Trump also repeatedly complained of the cost of regular military drills between Washington and Seoul.

However, the alliance has been eased since President Biden took office in January, with challenges like Seoul's historical disputes with Japan, another important US regional partner, and its inclination to join US-led initiatives targeting China, its most significant trade partner.

Austin and Suh pledged to keep trilateral cooperation involving Japan, but they didn't elaborate on how South Korea and Japan could overcome conflicts engendered by Tokyo's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean peninsula.

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