Putin ‘Punctures’ Beijing’s Inflated Military Might, Says ‘US Well Ahead Of China In Hypersonic Missile Race’

Russian President Vladimir Putin created a new buzz with his acknowledgment of arch-rival America’s military prowess over that of China.   

Speaking at the “Russia Calling!” investment summit on November 30, Putin said Russia is aware that the US is ahead of China in hypersonic weapon development although “nobody makes a fuss about it”, reported TASS.

He mentioned the success of the Chinese hypersonic weapons in the same breath. However, the statement has drawn widespread attention as tensions between Russia and the United States run high and there’s increased bonhomie between Moscow and Beijing.

“And we saw how our American allies reacted to this. However, we do know that the Americans are slightly ahead in the development of hypersonic weapons. They simply don’t talk about it, and no one seems to care. Nobody made a fuss when they tested their anti-satellite weapon 10 years ago, and no one is making a fuss now,” Putin added.

File:Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva, 16 June 2021 (05).jpg - Wikimedia Commons
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16, 2021 (Wikimedia Commons)

“When Russia conducted such a test not long ago, it caused quite a stir around the world “, the President said referring to its recent anti-satellite weapon test that allegedly endangered the International Space Station.

The statement has generated a considerable buzz in the international media given the two Cold War rivals continue to see each other with a great deal of suspicion and the tensions between them have of late reached a new high.

Russia-China Friendship

The escalating tensions between the West and China were also touched upon by the head of the Russian state. According to Putin, the formation of the AUKUS partnership (Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) is an example of Western countries’ destabilizing actions.

“The fact is that this rivalry is growing, and it may be repulsive at times,” Putin said. “An example is the formation of the AUKUS agreement, which comprises the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.”

Forming a closed alliance against someone does not help to ameliorate the situation in the region; rather, it exacerbates tensions,” the president stated.

Chinese Hypersonic Missile testing (via PLA Daily)

Putin also claimed that the US’ sanctions against China are unjustifiable. “Since 2000, they’ve been scaring me about China” Those who had been scaring me had become scared, and they began to change their policies toward China as a result.”

“It has already changed, resulting in a slew of sanctions and restrictions that are, in my opinion, completely unjustified. I mean, they go against international law norms,” the president added.

A Rare Admission

However, Putin also went on to say that Russia believes it is critical to engage in a strategic stability discussion with the US and China while acknowledging the growing disgruntlement between the two.

“We evaluate our own security and collaborate with our partners in the areas that we believe are vital. For example, we believe it is critical to engage in a strategic stability discussion with the United States. We had a similar conversation with the People’s Republic of China,” Putin was quoted as saying. This statement could possibly be seen as hinting at a more accommodative approach with its Western adversary.

Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (File photo/Twitter)

This rare statement comes a few days after both sides accused each other of provocations in the East European region especially at the Ukrainian border.

China’s Hypersonic Capability

Earlier this month, senior US officials had said that a Chinese hypersonic missile went around the world, as previously reported by EurAsian Times.

There were reports that in August, China reportedly tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle from a near-orbital trajectory, in the midst of an intensifying race for the next generation of long-range weapons that are difficult to detect and intercept.

Subsequently, it was learned that China’s launch of a nuclear-capable missile carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle featured the unprecedented launch of a separate missile from that vehicle.

The test had revealed that China’s development of strategic, nuclear-capable missiles is far ahead of expectations, startling Pentagon officials. It is believed to be a capability that neither Russia nor US has been able to demonstrate.

Concept of Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept (HAWC) (Raytheon Missiles & Defense)

However, Putin maintains that the US is still ahead of China in the hypersonic race. The fact that the statement comes in the backdrop of mounting tensions, where the US remains at the center of Russian and Chinese resentment, could be assumed to be toeing a carefully calibrated line to avert further tensions.

America had also successfully tested a hypersonic missile technology, a new weapons system which is already being deployed by China and Russia, the US Navy had announced in October this year.

It had expressed immense concern about what China has been doing on the Hypersonic front. On the other hand, Russia tested its Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic missile from a submarine in 2019 and has now started mass production.

So while one military’s hypersonic program might be more advanced than the other, it is clear that America, China, and Russia remain heavily invested in developing superior hypersonic capabilities, so as to further their respective military objectives, often directly opposed to the other.