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Will there be a hypersonic arms race in East Asia? Updated: 2022-01-10 06:03:22 KST

Now we cross over to our Oh Soo-young for Global Insight and an in-depth look at important developments in world affairs.

It's time for Global Insight where we speak to experts from around the world to hear their views on issues making headlines.
Hypersonic missiles, vehicles that travel 5 times faster than the speed of sound, often made global headlines in the year of 2021.
Compared to ballistic missiles, hypersonics travel within the atmosphere and are more maneuverable, allowing them to hit a target more precisely with a much shorter flight time.
Their trajectory is also unpredictable which makes them hard to intercept, and they are capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear warheads.
As countries such as North Korea, Russia and China make speedy advancements in their technology, there has been growing concern around the world, and questions as to whether there will be a hypersonic arms race, particularly here in East Asia.
To discuss, we turn to Pavel Podvig, Senior Researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), and Patty-Jane GELLER, Policy Analyst for Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense at The Heritage Foundation.

1. Dr. Podvig: How far along are Russia and China in their hypersonic missile technology, and why have they been advancing so quickly compared to the U.S?

2. Dr. Geller: China's pursuit of hypersonics and military modernisation plan has been alarming for observers and neighbouring countries. What does China's change of nuclear posture indicate about its intentions or ambitions?

3. Dr. Geller: One of the concerns about hypersonics is that they could go undetected by sneaking under early warning radar. Would this capability change the calculation regarding nuclear warfare?

4. Dr. Podvig: You've warned of strategic miscalculations. How worried should we be about an escalating arms race of hypersonic missiles? Do they raise the risk of a nuclear war?

5. Dr. Geller: How can hypersonic vehicles be stopped? Would current anti-missile defence systems such as THAAD work against them?

6. Dr. Podvig: Do you think the U.S. and Russia will make substantial progress on arms control during Monday's talks, when high-level officials meet in Geneva? What are you hoping to see?

7. Dr. Geller: What does it mean for security in Northeast Asia? How would hypersonic weapons affect America's extended deterrence for its allies, including South Korea?

8. Dr. Podvig: North Korea fired a missile last week, claiming it was a hypersonic one. South Korea disputes this and suggests it was a ballistic missile that could be intercepted. While there is little information about North Korea's hypersonics programme, what is your opinion? How advanced, or threatening, do you think North Korea's capabilities are?

9. Dr. Geller: The NDAA set hypersonic research as a key area of investment. What needs to be prioritised for the U.S. to move ahead of its competitors?


That was Pavel Podvig, Senior Researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), and Patty-Jane GELLER, Policy Analyst for Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense
The Heritage Foundation. Thank you for your time.
Reporter : osy@arirang.com
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