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FACT CHECK: Report on US missiles hitting Chinese warship is fake


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FACT CHECK: Report on US missiles hitting Chinese warship is fake
In a message to Rappler, Financial Times journalist Eli Meixler denies writing the report falsely attributed to him in a YouTube video

Claim: The United States launched cruise missiles against a Chinese warship near the floating barriers installed in the South China Sea. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: A YouTube channel named “Marine Corps” with 119,000 subscribers posted the video on September 29. It currently has 78,285 views, 1,000 likes, and 114 comments.

The video is titled “China Panic! US cruise missiles hits (sic) Chinese warship near floating barriers in South China Sea.” 

It featured a news article by journalist Eli Meixler, who supposedly wrote about the incident for the US Defense Report

The report says, “In a significant escalation of tensions in the South China Sea, the United States has reportedly launched a series of cruise missiles targeting a Chinese warship in close proximity to strategically important floating barriers.”

The facts: In a message exchange with Meixler, the Financial Times journalist denied writing such a report, adding he was “certain such a thing did not happen.” 

“I wrote no such article. And I’m fairly certain such a thing did not happen [as] it would be the news leading every website right now! I also do not write for US Defense Report,” Meixler told Rappler. 

Meixler is the Asia world news editor for Financial Times. He covers politics, economics, diplomacy, trade, environment, and social affairs. 

Missile launch: There are no reports of a recent US missile launch in the South China Sea, with the latest news dating back to April 2023 during the Balikatan Exercise. In the said military exercise, US and the Philippine forces fired missiles and bombs to sink an old Philippine Navy warship representing an enemy vessel.

Chinese floating barriers: On September 25, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) removed the floating barriers installed by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) at Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

This was upon President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s order to remove the 300-meter floating barriers deemed a “hazard to navigation.”

The floating barriers were discovered by PCG and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources personnel on September 22 during a routine maritime patrol onboard the BRP Datu Bankaw.

According to PCG spokesperson Jay Tarriela, three of the CCG’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats and the Chinese Maritime Militia’s service boat installed the floating barriers. 

The installation of the barriers is among the latest incidents of Chinese hostility against the Philippines, as Beijing insists on invalidating the 2016 arbitral ruling that favored Manila. The US, meanwhile, has continued to express its support for the Philippines, saying China must end its “routine harassment” and abide by the arbitral tribunal decision.

Rappler has published several fact-check articles on claims about the US-China relations: 

 – Ailla dela Cruz/Rappler.com

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 #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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