President Biden said Wednesday that he’s concerned about a possible Chinese hypersonic missile test — after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki turned heads saying the US was “concerned” but that “we welcome stiff competition.”
Biden was asked under the wing of Air Force One if he was concerned about the rocket that reportedly circled the globe before narrowly missing its target, which would be a big advance for China’s nuclear weapon capabilities.
“Yes,” Biden said, according to a pool report, as he headed to Scranton, Pa., to deliver a speech on his stalled social spending legislation.
Word of the missile test stunned the US military. The Chinese government claims it was a space mission, not a missile test.
Psaki drew backlash for appearing to say Monday that the US welcomes the military competition.
“Generally speaking, we have made clear we are concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue,” Psaki said at a press briefing. “And we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not want that competition to veer into conflict.”
The alleged missile test happened in August and was first reported by the Financial Times, which said five sources described intelligence about the matter. “We have no idea how they did this,” one source told the paper.
Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday sent a letter to Senate leadership requesting a briefing for lawmakers from the intelligence community and the Defense Department, calling the launch a “game changing event.”
Biden reportedly is preparing to host a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year. His son Hunter Biden reportedly still owns a 10 percent stake in a Chinese investment fund formed with state-owned entities.