China is stepping up testing on a space missile that could sink American aircraft carriers in the Pacific, a US naval commander warned on Tuesday.
The news increased tensions between Washington and Beijing as concerns grow that China is boosting its military might.
The anti-ship missile, which is fired into space before hitting its target, could alter the balance of power in the Pacific.
The land-based ballistic warhead was specifically designed to threaten the US fleet. It can track down and target aircraft carriers hundreds of miles away.
Admiral Robert Willard, the top US commander in the Pacific, warned that as part of China’s aim to become a global sea power, the missile had already reached “initial operational capability”.