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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to news reports from over the weekend that indicated that China had developed advanced nuclear-capable weapons systems by saying that the Biden administration "welcome[s] stiff competition."
Psaki made the remarks in response to questions from a journalist on whether the reports were accurate and whether the administration was concerned about China's capabilities.
The report in question came from the Financial Times, which stated:
China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise. Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.
The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realized. The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China's military modernization.
"I'm not going to comment on the specific report,"
Psaki responded. "I can say and would echo what he said, which is, generally speaking, we've made clear, are concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue. And we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not that competition to veer into conflict. And that is certainly what we convey privately as well."
Asked by @AP's @AJJaffe on China's space nukes, Jen Psaki says she won't be "comment[ing] on the specific report," but claims the U.S. "welcome[s] stiff competition" from China though they "do not want that competition to veer into conflict."
REPORTER: And then can you comment on reports that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile over the summer? To the surprise of U.S. officials. Are these accurate? And do these raise concerns about China's nuclear capability?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well I know General, Secretary Austin, I should say, was asked this question this morning and addressed it. But I'm not going to comment on the specific report. I can say and would echo what he said, which is generally speaking, we've made clear, are concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue. And we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not that competition to veer into conflict. And that is certainly what we convey privately as well.
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