Beijing: The Chinese military on Wednesday virtually confirmed reports that it carried out a third test of its new hypersonic missile, saying such "scientific experiments" are not directed against other countries.
"Scientific experiments carried out by China within its borders are normal ones conducted according to its schedule and they are not directed against any specific country or target," the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said in a response to US media report which mentioned the test of a new hypersonic missile in western China on December 2.
In a statement on its website, the Ministry referred to The Washington Free Beacon report stating that the third flight test, following two in January and August, was part of China's "strategic nuclear program and efforts to develop delivery vehicles capable of defeating US countermeasures".
Reports in August said the second test of a hypersonic vehicle in its attempts to find a way to deliver nuclear weapons at immense speed to evade defence systems was not successful.
The test was carried out on August 7 at a missile and satellite launching centre in Shanxi province, about 300 kilometres from its capital Taiyuan.
The vehicle reportedly broke up soon after it was launched.
The first test took place on January 9, and it was confirmed by the National Defence Ministry as successful a few days later, according to reports in the Hong Kong Media.
The latest model is designed to be carried by a ballistic missile to an undisclosed suborbital altitude, then released.
The vehicle then dives towards its target at speeds of up to Mach 10, more than 12,000 kilometres per hour.
The United States is the only other nation known to have developed similar technology. Russia and India are also known to be developing similar vehicles.
Several of the Chinese military experts while commenting on the missile test in August said the Hypersonic missile could render a number of US defence systems useless.