Biden was asked under the wing of Air Force One if he was concerned about the rocket that reportedly circled the globe before narrowly missing its target, which would be a big advance for China’s nuclear weapon capabilities.
“Yes,” Biden replied, according to a pool report, as he headed to Scranton, Pa., to deliver a speech on his stalled social spending legislation.
Word of the missile test stunned the U.S. military. The Chinese government maintains it was a space mission, not a missile test. A Chinese foreign is quoted: "It was not a missile, it was a space vehicle."
Psaki drew backlash for appearing to suggest Monday that the U.S. welcomes the military competition. “Generally speaking, we have made clear we are concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue,” Psaki reiterated at a press briefing. “And we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not want that competition to veer into conflict.”
The alleged missile test happened in August and was first reported by the Financial Times, which said five sources described intelligence about the matter. “We have no idea how they did this,” one source told the paper.
The White House has raised concerns about Chinese hypersonic missile technology through "diplomatic channels," spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.
In September, the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency successfully tested an air-breathing hypersonic weapon capable of speeds faster than five times the speed of sound. It was the first successful test of the class of weapons since 2013.
Washington is mostly concerned about hypersonic missile technology and its potential military applications by China and Russia. A U.S. arms control official said on Monday after a media report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.
The United States and Russia have tested hypersonic weapons, but U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said that Washington had concerns about their possible use.
Companies such as Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) are working to develop the U.S.'s hypersonic weapon capability.
Hypersonic weapons are potential "nightmare weapons," King said. "The implications of these weapons under development by China or Russia could be catastrophic."
Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday sent a letter to Senate leadership requesting a briefing for lawmakers from the intelligence community and the Defense Department, calling the launch a “game-changing event.”
Biden reportedly prepares to host a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year. His son Hunter Biden reportedly owns a 10 percent stake in a Chinese investment fund formed with state-owned entities.