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FACT CHECK: No reports of EU ship attacking China in Ayungin Shoal


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FACT CHECK: No reports of EU ship attacking China in Ayungin Shoal
The video provides no proof for its claim, only showing clips of a joint statement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

Claim: A ship from the European Union (EU) attacked China in Ayungin Shoal.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has 72,531 views as of writing. It was posted by a channel with 340,000 subscribers.

What the video said: The claim was made in the video’s title, which says: “Lalaban tayo sa kanila! Grabe Pres. BBM! Barko ng European Union! Sinugod China sa Ayungin! Tameme na!

(We will fight them! Wow, President BBM! A European Union ship attacked China in Ayungin! China, dumbfounded!)

The facts: The video did not show any proof to support the claim. It only showed clips taken during a joint press statement given by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on July 31. 

No mention of the supposed incident in Ayungin Shoal can be seen in the transcripts of both Marcos’ and Von der Leyen’s statements during the event.

The two leaders discussed trade, energy, and security during the official visit, which marked the first time a president of the European Commission visited the Philippines.

No official reports: The alleged incident was also not reported in the official and verified Facebook pages of the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines, the Department of National Defense, and the Philippine Navy. There were also no reports from the media confirming the incident. 

European Union’s Army: According to its website, the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) is the “highest military body” set up within the Council of the EU. It is composed of the chiefs of defense of EU member states, and is responsible for all military activities within the EU framework.

The EUMC has not issued any press release regarding an encounter of one of its ships with Chinese vessels in Ayungin Shoal.

Recent incident: Several cases of Chinese aggression have been reported near Ayungin Shoal, a submerged reef located in the West Philippine Sea, or the part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. 

According to a Rappler report, the latest incident happened on June 30 when Chinese ships “constantly followed, harassed, and obstructed” Philippine Coast Guard vessels that were en route to Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission to Philippine Navy troops. However, the incident did not involve any attacks on Chinese vessels. No EU involvement was also mentioned.

During her Philippine visit, von der Leyen affirmed the EU’s support of the 2016 Hague ruling that struck down China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.

She also said that the EU is “ready” to strengthen maritime cooperation with the Philippines, including sharing information, conducting threat assessment, and building the capacity of the Coast Guard.

Previous false claims: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims about military activities in the West Philippine Sea:

– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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