Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: PH, US, India have not waged war on China


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FACT CHECK: PH, US, India have not waged war on China
The defense departments of the four countries have not made any announcements regarding the supposed war, contrary to a video’s claim

Claim: The Philippines, the United States, and India have joined forces to wage war on China.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a Facebook reel that has 22,500 likes and 4,100 shares as of writing. 

Text superimposed on the video clip states: “Gyera nagsimula na. China nagulantang sa pinagsamang pwersa ng India, US, and Philippines.” 

(War has begun. China was surprised by the combined forces of India, the US, and the Philippines.)

The bottom line: The video does not provide any evidence to support its claim. Instead, it only shows various clips of ships and missiles being fired at other vessels. There are also no clear markings or identifiers to substantiate the claim that the ships shown in the video are from the Philippines, the US, India, or China.

There have been no announcements from the defense departments of China, the Philippines, the United States, and India regarding an armed conflict between them. There are also no news reports from reputable sources regarding a supposed joint attack by the Philippines, US, and India against China.

Recent Chinese aggression: The claim surfaced following a series of Chinese aggression against Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea, as Beijing continues to reject the 2016 Hague ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims over the South China Sea. ([EXPLAINER] South China Sea: Why are China and Philippines tensions heating up?)

Most recently, a Chinese coast guard ship blocked a Philippine maritime research vessel and an escort ship from the Philippine Coast Guard for eight hours. 


Philippine allies: The Philippines has fostered a long military alliance with the US, and boasts Washington as one of its longest and most important allies. With China’s recent assertiveness in the South China Sea, the US has reiterated its commitment to defending the Philippines in the event of an attack. Following a recent trilateral summit between the Philippines, the US, and Japan, US President Joe Biden said that the mutual defense treaty between Manila and Washington was “ironclad.”

India, meanwhile, also endorsed the 2016 arbitral ruling in a statement in 2023, where the Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar “underlined the need for peaceful settlement of disputes and for adherence to international law, especially the UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea.” 

India has also sought a key role in the Philippines’ military modernization plan. The Philippines is the first foreign customer of India’s BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which are expected to be delivered soon, the Inquirer reported. Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo 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. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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