Misunderstandings with China could see the west sleepwalk into another cold war

Editorial: The list of western concerns is long, but so is the list of global challenges. China is, whether the west likes it or not, indispensable

Monday 18 October 2021 21:30
Comments
<p>China has insisted its recent launch was a space vehicle, not a hypersonic missile</p>

China has insisted its recent launch was a space vehicle, not a hypersonic missile

It is difficult to believe that something as large and ostentatious as a hypersonic missile could be the subject of possible misidentification, but so it would seem.

News reports based on numerous western intelligence services suggested China had indeed tested out such a weapon. capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, during the summer. Apparently it flew, faster than the speed of sound, through low-orbit before landing close to its target – broadly speaking a success, given the technological challenges involved.

Perhaps bashful, the Chinese authorities deny it was a missile, but merely a “reusable spacecraft”. From the point of view of its nervous neighbours and other world powers, it seems a distinction without a difference. They know what China is capable of these days. It is now a rival, and to some an enemy.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in