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FACT CHECK: No promise from Germany to defend PH against China


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FACT CHECK: No promise from Germany to defend PH against China
Trade and economic relations were discussed by Marcos and German envoy Andreas Michael Pfaffernoschke

Claim: Germany will defend the Philippines against China amid the two Asian countries’ maritime dispute.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The claim was made in a YouTube video posted by Boss Balita TV, which has gained 12,000 views and 838 likes as of writing.

The narrator of the video claims that Germany will fight for the Philippines should President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. give orders to do so. “China, nabulaga sa biglaang pag-aanunsyo ng Germany na ipagtatanggol ang Pinas kapag ipinatawag ni BBM sa West Philippine Sea.” 

(China was surprised by Germany’s sudden announcement that it will defend the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea if called upon by Marcos.) 

The facts: Neither Germany nor the European Union (EU) has said such a thing. The video does not provide evidence to support its claim. Instead, it showed clips of Marcos interacting with the new German ambassador to the Philippines, Andreas Michael Pfaffernoschke, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Conversations on trade, economy: The video briefly showed a clip of Marcos interacting with Pfaffernoschke, who met with the President on August 17 to present his credentials. Contrary to the video’s claim, the meeting did not involve conversations related to China. 

The German envoy expressed support for relaunching the Philippines-EU free trade agreement negotiations, stressing the importance of a strong economic relationship between the two countries.

“That was… what we in Germany really pushed for. We pushed the information to do this and our business people here are very keen on really exploring new possibilities and new ideas and new business opportunities both ways, of course, not just for the German industry here, but also for the Philippine industry in Germany,” Pfaffernoschke said.

The rest of the video featured clips of the joint press statement of Marcos and Von der Leyen during the latter’s Philippine visit last July. 

The misleading video seemed to suggest the EU’s potential defense of the Philippines given its territorial dispute with China. The visit, however, centered on trade, energy, and security. 

“During our meeting, we discussed the economic relations with particular focus on revitalizing trade between our two regions,” Marcos said

Meanwhile, in her speech, Von der Leyen mentioned accelerating “a new era of cooperation” with the Philippines. 

EU support: During her visit, Von der Leyen affirmed the EU’s support for the 2016 Hague ruling quashing China’s expansive maritime claims, saying the ruling “is legally binding, and that it provides the basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties.”

“We are ready to strengthen the cooperation with the Philippines on maritime security in the region by sharing information, conducting threat assessments, and building the capacity of your National Coast Watch Centre and your Coast Guard,” Von der Leyen added. It’s important to note that no direct threats were made against China. 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.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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