US troops from the Marines and Army found themselves without their MV-22 Osprey aircraft armed with Javelin and Stinger missile launchers on a rugged and blustery island located just over 100 miles south of Taiwan.
They set up camp near a watermelon field. On the island’s opposite side, a Himars rocket launcher was deployed on Monday from an amphibious landing craft.
This system could enable US forces to target ships located up to a few hundred miles away, the Wall Street Journal reported.
These drills were part of the largest-ever annual military exercises conducted between the US and the Philippines.
For the first time, the exercises focused on defending the northern Philippines and preparing for conflict in case China attempts to take Taiwan by force.
The strait, spanning around 70 miles in width and hemmed in by the southern end of Taiwan and a group of islands that encompass Basco, grants the Chinese navy entry to Taiwan’s eastern coast and the Pacific, enabling its submarines to depart from their principal base located on Hainan Island in the south.
In the earlier part of this month, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the strait before performing jet-fighter exercises towards the east of Taiwan.
Written by staff