China has denied reports that it tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile earlier this year, insisting instead that it was a routine spacecraft check.
The initial report in the Financial Times newspaper prompted concern in Washington, where US intelligence was reportedly caught by surprise.
Hypersonic missiles are much faster and more agile than normal ones, meaning they are more difficult to intercept.
It comes as concern grows around China’s nuclear capabilities.
On Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing that a routine test had been carried out in July to verify different types of reusable spacecraft technology.
“This was not a missile, this was a spacecraft,” he said. “This is of great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft use.”
Mr Zhao added that many countries had carried out similar tests in the past. When asked if the Financial Times report was inaccurate, he replied “yes”.