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FACT CHECK: No China war threat vs Philippines amid rising tensions


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FACT CHECK: No China war threat vs Philippines amid rising tensions
The misleading video exaggerates the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement on recent clashes between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea

Claim: China has threatened war on the Philippines amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim, posted on June 25, has gained 65,563 views, 2,300 likes, and 1,757 comments as of writing.

The video’s title reads: “Last warning ng China! PBBM pinag bantaan na! Makikipag usap o gyera? Kung hindi susuko ang Pinas!” 

(Last warning from China! President Bongbong Marcos has been threatened! Will there be talks or war if the Philippines does not surrender?)

The bottom line: China has not declared war against the Philippines. No official reports from either the Philippine or Chinese foreign departments confirm the claim.

The misleading YouTube video was uploaded after the latest clash between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea. On June 17, the China Coast Guard (CCG) rammed Philippine vessels on its routine resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre, the Philippines’ outpost in Ayungin Shoal. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the CCG employed “physical attacks, bladed weapons, blaring sirens, and blinding strobe lights” in what it called a “brazen act of aggression.”


Videos released by the AFP show the measures undertaken by the CCG to stop the resupply mission, with one Filipino soldier’s thumb getting cut off after a Chinese vessel rammed a Philippine vessel.  

No mention of war: In a June 24 press conference, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning addressed the incident, urging the Philippines to “stop the infringement activities and provocations, and stop misleading the world.” Contrary to the misleading video’s claim, there was no mention of war.

The Philippine government has filed a protest against China over the incident.

Tensions between the two countries have worsened in the past year. China refuses to recognize a 2016 arbitral ruling invalidating its sweeping claims over nearly the entire South China Sea. (READ: [EXPLAINER] South China Sea: Why are China and Philippines tensions heating up?) Andrei Santos/Rappler.com

Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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