This is the moment US marines conduct a training exercise on one of the American military bases in Okinawa in Japan, firing heavy machine guns and missiles from their light attack helicopters.
The training exercise was carried out by the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267 which is currently stationed at a US military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa which is located just 732 kilometres (454 miles) from Taiwan last Friday (16th April).
In the footage obtained by Newsflash, US marines can be seen carrying out an exercise using light attack helicopters firing at simulated targets and practising various manoeuvres.
The training exercises were carried out with a backdrop of increasing tension in the region as Washington and Tokyo bump heads with Beijing over Taiwan.
US President Joe Biden and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” in the joint statement last Saturday (17th April).
The statement came less than a month after Kyodo News reported that Japanese government sources claimed the US and Japan had agreed to cooperate in a counterattack if China was invaded Taiwan.
According to the Sandford Centre for East Asia studies the military bases in Okinawa, which are home to around 25,000 US service personnel, would likely be the first US military base to launch a response if China attacked Taiwan due to their proximity to the island.
Jeffrey Hornung, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, stated in a report on Taiwan’s security that “The United States will need to rely on bases in Japan to execute an operation in the region, such as the defence of Taiwan”.
China claims sovereignty over the island which has a population of 24 million people whilst the USA and Japan strongly support the island’s independence.
The South China Morning Post reported that the Chinese government considers Biden and Suga’s comments to harmful to peace and stability in the region.
Beijing reacted by vowing to protect its national sovereignty, security, and development objectives in the region and by launching a military exercise carrying out a nine-hour live-fire exercise using H-6K bombers.
South China Morning Post reports that tensions have been escalating rapidly between the US and China with Beijing sending military aircraft into Taiwanese airspace on a daily basis.
Despite the increasing tension both Washington and Beijing have repeatedly stated that they want to avoid open conflict and resolve the ‘Taiwan issue’ through diplomatic means.