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Lindsey Graham warns of possible nuclear arms race with China if hypersonic launch is true: report

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sounded the alarm over reports that China successfully launched a hypersonic missile and said—if true—the advancement would be something the U.S. could not ignore, according to a report.

The New York Post reported that it obtained a letter from Graham to Senate leaders that called for an urgent classified meeting with Defense Department and intelligence officials to determine the accuracy of these reports.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 30: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 30: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that Beijing launched two of these missiles during the summer months. The report said U.S. officials are still trying to learn details about these tests, but one source said Beijing seemed to “defy the laws of physics.”

The concern is that hypersonic missiles would be able to evade defense systems. 

The report pointed out that the U.S. has not confirmed the launch. The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.

Graham wrote in the letter that he does not “welcome this event” because—if true—”it would set in motion a nuclear arms race between the United States and China.” China denied the reports.

“We can attempt to convince China to stand down to avoid a nuclear arms race, which is unlikely, or we can decide to make the required investments needed to neutralize the advantage a hypersonic nuclear capable missile would provide to China,” Graham wrote, according to the Post.

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 1, 2019: DF-17 Dongfeng medium-range ballistic missiles equipped with a DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle, involved in a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Republic. Zoya Rusinova/TASS (Photo by Zoya RusinovaTASS via Getty Images)

BEIJING, CHINA – OCTOBER 1, 2019: DF-17 Dongfeng medium-range ballistic missiles equipped with a DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle, involved in a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Republic. Zoya Rusinova/TASS (Photo by Zoya RusinovaTASS via Getty Images)

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price would not comment this week on intelligence about the August test but noted the U.S. remained concerned about China’s expansion of its nuclear capabilities, including delivery systems for nuclear devices.

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Reuters pointed out that these missiles can travel at about 3,853 miles per hour. The launch in question reportedly circled the globe and missed its target. The report said U.S. companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technology are working to develop the capability.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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