Claim: The governments of the United States and the Philippines recently sent 17,680 soldiers to the West Philippine Sea which resulted in the expulsion of Chinese boats from the contested waters. Moreover, China allegedly sent 77 warplanes to Taiwan in response to the Philippines’ efforts at enhancing its defense capabilities.
The Facebook video bearing the claim is titled: “US AT PILIPINAS, NAGPADALA NG 17,680 NA SUNDALO SA SOUTH CHINA SEA! MGA CHINESE BOATS NAPAALIS NA!”
Why we fact-checked this: The video has garnered more than 545,000 views, 24,000 reactions, and 1,500 comments.
Balikatan exercises do not involve military confrontation: “Balikatan” is an annual joint military exercise of the United States and the Philippines that aims to bolster the security of both countries by enhancing “existing mutual security efforts.”
In the 2023 Balikatan exercises, the major events are the main command post exercise, cyber defense exercise, field training exercise, and humanitarian civic assistance. They do not involve engaging with Chinese vessels.
China deployed 77 warplanes to Taiwan’s defense zone in 2021: According to CNN, China sent 77 warplanes to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in a span of two days in October 2021. The incursions, which occurred as the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 72nd founding anniversary, did not violate Taiwan’s airspace.
While China sent 70 warplanes near Taiwan on April 9, this was part of its military drills following Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen’s trip to the United States where she met with US Speaker Kevin McCarthy. – Enzo de Borja/Rappler.com
Enzo de Borja is a 4th year political science major at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, volunteering under Rappler’s Research unit.
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