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FACT CHECK: PH, US navy did not ‘destroy’ 350 illegal Chinese vessels

John Sitchon

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FACT CHECK: PH, US navy did not ‘destroy’ 350 illegal Chinese vessels
There have been no reports from the US and Philippine navies on the alleged interception of 350 illegal Chinese vessels near Scarborough Shoal

Claim: A video claims that joint maritime military forces from the United States and the Philippines destroyed 350 illegal Chinese vessels attempting a voyage to Scarborough Shoal.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: This claim was made in a Youtube video posted on December 19 with the title, “Brutal attack! 350 illegal China vessels destroy by US-Philippines navy near Scarborough shoal.”

The video is owned by YouTube-verified channel RE FILES and has 199,062 views, 2,800 likes, and 190 comments as of writing.

The narrator in the video says that tensions in the South China Sea had escalated in recent months as “the United States Navy intercepted a Chinese warship engaged in provocative actions within free economic shipping lanes.”

No Chinese ships destroyed: Contrary to the video’s claim, there have been no reports from the US and Philippine navies on joint operations to intercept Chinese vessels attempting to enter the disputed territory near Scarborough Shoal.

The latest incident involving China happened on December 10 when Chinese vessels deployed water cannons and rammed Philippine supply vessels. 

Water cannons were also used against civilian vessels of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) during a humanitarian and support mission on December 9.

Unsafe interaction: Neither the US nor China has destroyed each other’s ships but there have been multiple instances of vessels nearly coming into contact with one another. 

On June 4, the USS Chung-Hoon and Canada’s HSMC Montreal were conducting a “routine” transit in a joint exercise of the Taiwan Strait when a Chinese warship cut in front of the US vessel.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry, said in a report by Reuters that the US had caused “trouble and provocation first.” This was after the US Navy released a video of the encounter, which they called an “unsafe interaction.”

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has fact-checked multiple false claims on the maritime conflict between China and the Philippines:

– Rappler.com

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