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
<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.

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