China is developing hypersonic weapons that can pierce the missile defense system in Japan and China's Taiwan, as well as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that is planned to be deployed in Republic of Korea (ROK).
The development is aimed at piercing the missile defense shields of Japan and its East Asian neighbors, China Military Online reported Wednesday.
Rocket Force of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has recently decided on a hypersonic weapon developing program.
The hypersonic weapons are next-generation maneuvering strike weapons to be installed atop the ballistic missiles that travel at speeds of up to Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound. They can maneuver and glide along the atmospheric edge, making them very difficult to be shot down by anti-missile weapons.
It is believed that if China's hypersonic weapons advances, Japan's anti-missile system could be made impotent.
Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has already deployed the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile defense system along with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers equipped Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors.
Similarly, Taiwan has deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) for defense against China, while South Korea has plans to deploy the advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to counter North Korea’s nuclear threats.
In addition to the hypersonic weapon project of the PLA Rocket Force, China has been developing such hypersonic weapons through another channel.
A state-owned enterprise is engaged in developing hypersonic weapons that can be launched atop long-range ballistic missiles to penetrate the missile defense system on the US mainland.
China has carried out seven hypersonic sliding vehicle tests in recent years, six of which succeeded. While China has acknowledged to such testing, it was unclear if it was also working on short-range hypersonic weapons development program against East Asian countries.