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FACT CHECK: Report of US surfacing 3 submarines near China is from 2010

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Report of US surfacing 3 submarines near China is from 2010
The YouTube video misrepresents news of the US Navy surfacing three submarines simultaneously as happening recently amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea

Claim: The US surfaced three Ohio-class submarines near China amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Rating: MISSING CONTEXT

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video was posted on June 8 and has 198,000 views, 7,700 likes, and 1,006 comments as of writing.

Citing a National Interest article published on June 5, the narrator said that China was surprised when three US submarines suddenly surfaced in nearby waters. Text on the video’s thumbnail also states: “Nagulantang bigla si Xi Jinping. US most powerful submarine bigla lumutang malapit sa China” (Xi Jinping was surprised. US most powerful submarine suddenly surfaces near China.) 

The video also implies that this was related to the ongoing tensions between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea.

The bottom line: The video fails to mention that the incident happened in 2010, not 2024. The narrator only read out a portion of the National Interest article, but omitted the opening paragraph which contained the line, “The U.S. responded by demonstrating its naval strength, notably with the surfacing of three Ohio-class submarines in 2010.”

Another National Interest article dated November 27, 2023 even clarified that the missile-laden USS Michigan, USS Florida, and USS Ohio submarines surfaced in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean amid Beijing’s missile tests in the East China Sea. 

Neither article indicated that the surfacing of the submarines was related to the Philippines’ maritime issues with China.

According to a 2010 Time article, the simultaneous deployment of the three US submarines sent a message to China amid its increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, and as part of the US shift of its military focus to the Pacific.

ALSO ON RAPPLER

Submarine locations: As of writing, the USS Michigan and USS Ohio are both currently stationed in Bangor, Washington. The USS Florida was previously deployed to the Middle East in November 2023.

US-Philippines relations: The video was posted as China continues its hostile actions towards the Philippines in the South China Sea, with Beijing refusing to recognize a 2016 arbitral ruling striking down its expansive maritime claims. (READ: [EXPLAINER] South China Sea: Why are China and Philippines tensions heating up?)

In recent months, the Philippines has sought to strengthen its ties with allies like the US, Japan, and Australia through maritime cooperative activities. Washington has also stressed its “ironclad” commitment to support its ally amid “dangerous” Chinese conduct in the region.

Debunked: Rappler has previously fact-checked claims by YouTuber Juan Estoryador:

– 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.

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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