China’s pursuit of hypersonic weapons raises regional tensions

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 02: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook (R) attend a news conference after the 53rd Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) at the Defense Ministry on December 02, 2021 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea and the United States are set to hold their annual defense ministerial talks in Seoul on Thursday to discuss the envisioned wartime operational control (OPCON) transfer, North Korean threats and bilateral alliance issues. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji - Pool/Getty Images)

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – DECEMBER 02: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook (R) attend a news conference after the 53rd Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) at the Defense Ministry on December 02, 2021 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji – Pool/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:50 PM PT – Thursday, December 2, 2021

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said China’s increased pursuit of hypersonic weapons has raised “tensions in the region.”

Following security talks alongside his South Korean counterpart in Seoul Thursday, Austin said the U.S. has concerns regarding China’s military capabilities. However, Austin ensured the U.S. would maintain the capabilities to defend and deter against a range of potential threats from the country.

“We have concerns about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue and the pursuit of those capabilities in increasing tensions in the region. We know that China conducted a test of hypersonic weapons on the 27th of July. It just underscores why we consider the PRC to be our pacing challenge,” stated Austin.

While concern comes after China tested its hypersonic weapons over the summer, North Korea also successfully tested hypersonic missiles back in September. Austin said the South Korean defense minister said the developments of North Korea’s weapons program is “increasingly destabilizing for regional security.”

“We also reaffirmed our shared assessment that the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is continuing to advance its missile and weapons programs. The United States and ROK [Republic of Korea] remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK,” Austin said. “And we continue to call upon DPRK to engage in dialogue.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has come under fire from Republicans for being too soft in its stance on both China and North Korea, compared with former President Trump.

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