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Claim: A Chinese naval vessel fired warning shots at two Japanese warships, the JS Izumo and JS Murasame, in the South China Sea.
Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video posted on September 9, which has gained 18,053 views and 389 likes from a channel with 31,900 subscribers.
The video cited a Daily Mail article supposedly written by a certain Nelson Groon. It was posted following recent reports of Japan, the US, and the Philippines agreeing to strengthen maritime cooperation in the South China Sea amid Beijing’s growing hostility and territorial claims in the disputed waters.
The bottom line: The Daily Mail article cited in the video cannot be found on its website, nor any reference to a news writer named Nelson Groon. There are also no reports on the supposed incident on the site’s index for China-related stories.
Neither China nor Japan has issued any official announcements about the two Japanese destroyers recently encountering a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea, much less clashing with one another.
Status of Japanese warships: The light aircraft carrier JS Izumo was in Manila until August 31 for a goodwill visit following the August 24 quadrilateral drill with the Philippines, Australia, and the US to improve defense cooperation and interoperability.
The Japanese defense ministry said its participation in the South China Sea naval drills aim to “strengthen collaboration toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to The Japan Times.
No reports indicate that the Japanese vessels made contact with a Chinese navy ship. There is also no recent news on the JS Murasame’s supposed presence in the South China Sea.
The maritime exercises aimed to underscore US, Japanese, and Australian commitment to the rule of law in the region as China continues its hostile actions against the Philippines and refuses to acknowledge a landmark arbitral ruling invalidating its sweeping claims over the South China Sea.
Unrelated footage: The video also used footage unrelated to the supposed firing incident. The ship under fire shown in the video is the USS Crommelin during a 2016 naval sinking exercise, not a Japanese vessel under attack.
The missile launch clips came from footage of a Russian warship firing missiles near Japan back in October 2021 amid the Kremlin’s protests against Tokyo’s claim of sovereignty over the disputed Kuril Islands.
Rappler has published various fact-checks related to Japan’s military actions:
- FACT CHECK: No Japanese ship sent to West Philippine Sea
- FACT CHECK: Japan is not gearing to attack North Korea
- FACT CHECK: Video shows a Japanese F-2 fighter plane, not a Chinese jet
– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com
Kyle Marcelino 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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