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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: South Korea did NOT send its navy to WPS

South Korea sent its naval forces to the West Philippine Sea to fight China

YouTube channel PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS 2023-12-29 Misleading

South Korean navy ships ROKS Hansando and ROKS Hwaechon arrived in Manila on Dec. 27, 2023 for a port call, not a military operation against any other country. The visit is part of a training mission covering 14 countries participated in by more than 600 cadets and crew members.

A YouTube video is claiming that South Korea sent its naval forces to the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to fight China amid rising tensions in the region. This is misleading. The South Korean navy was only in the country for a port visit. 

Uploaded on Dec. 29, 2023, two days after two South Korean navy ships docked in Manila, the video bore the headline:

KAKAPASOK LANG NAGKAGUL0 na PBBM Amerika mga KOREAN NAVY mga Sundalo Pumutok sa CHINA WPS Tinamaan (Just in. This is chaos. PBBM America Korean navy and troops fired at China. WPS was hit).”

Its thumbnail also showed photos of a naval fleet and a platoon of sailors, along with the text that read:

“KOREA NAPASUGOD MGA KOREAN NAVY NASA PINAS NA! DELEKADO TO GYERA NA (Korea attacked! The Korean navy is now in the Philippines! It’s dangerous, this is war)!” 

South Korean navy ships ROKS Hansando and ROKS Hwaechon arrived in Manila on Dec. 27 for a port call, not a military operation against any other country. The visit is part of a South Korean training mission which will take more than 600 of its cadets and crew members across 14 countries. 

It is not true that the South Korean navy rushed to the West Philippine Sea to confront China.

Two of its navy ships were in Manila only for a port visit.

Reverse image search also showed that the photos used in the thumbnail were old. 

Two images, one taken during a 2015 Korean naval exercise and another lifted from a 2021 navy promotional video, were spliced together to show a large fleet at sea. 

Meanwhile, the photo of sailors was taken in August 2023 during the start of the said training mission. 

As part of the December 2023 visit, Philippine Navy officials also met with their South Korean counterparts to discuss enhanced cooperation on maritime security and joint exercises. 

The erroneous video merely showed a Dec. 28, 2023 Bombo Radyo news report on the port visit and a commentary from a previously fact-checked vlogger on China’s aggressive activities in the WPS.

Uploaded by YouTube channels PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS and WANGBUDISS TV, the video has garnered a total of 171,488 interactions. Facebook users also reposted the links.

 

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)