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Chinese air force video shows simulated bomber attack on Pacific island resembling Guam

A video released by the Chinese air force on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, appears to include footage taken from the 1996 Hollywood film "The Rock."

SCREENSHOT;

By CAITLIN DOORNBOS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 21, 2020

A promotional video the Chinese air force released on Saturday appears to depict a simulated strike on a Pacific island some media outlets identified as Guam.

In the two-minute clip posted to the force’s Weibo social media account, inspirational music plays as a Chinese H-6K long-range bomber soars over rural China to the Pacific Ocean. With the pilot’s press of a button, a missile speeds toward what appears to be a military base on an unnamed island, which erupts in flames in an explosion. The South China Morning Post wrote that the island in the simulation “has more than a passing resemblance to the U.S. facility on the island of Guam.” Reuters said the runway layout of the targeted base appeared “to be the main U.S. air force base on Guam.”

The H-6K bomber has a combat radius of nearly 2,200 miles, placing Guam within its range, according to the Center for Security and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Initiative.

Eagle-eyed internet sleuths, however, noted on social media that the simulation appears to be cut from several Hollywood films. The clip of the missile speeding toward an island matches an opening scene in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” The ensuing explosion matches that from the ending of the 1996 Nicolas Cage movie, “The Rock.”

The island featured in “Transformers” is supposed to be Diego Garcia, which is home to a U.S. Navy base. The explosion in “The Rock” is set on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

The Chinese air force video did not indicate which island it intended to depict.

The head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, on Thursday advocated for an Aegis Ashore missile defense system on Guam to protect “billions of dollars in defense capability” there from an increasingly aggressive China.

“The vast capacity that China possesses when it comes to land-based … cruise missiles and ground-based conventional missiles and where they are headed with ground-based hypersonic missiles represents an offensive threat throughout the region that is alarming not only to the United States but to all our allies and partners there as well,” he said during an online forum organized by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

China has previously signaled a capability to strike Guam, test-firing its DF-26 ballistic missile in January 2019. Defense analysts nicknamed the missile “Guam Killer” because of its capacity to strike targets 3,400 miles away, which is within range of Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam.

doornbos.caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @CaitlinDoornbos