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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video FALSELY claims to show US, PH forces destroying Chinese vessel 

The United States and the Philippines destroyed a China Coast Guard vessel in the South China Sea.

TikTok user soldierscomingus 2024-03-29 False

Clips from a near-collision between a China Coast Guard ship and a Philippine patrol vessel in 2023 and earlier military exercises were spliced.

A video circulating on Facebook (FB) spliced clips and erroneously claimed that the United States and the Philippines destroyed a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel in the South China Sea. 

Uploaded on TikTok on March 29 and reposted on FB on April 3, the one-minute and eleven-second video continued to gain traction. It bore this text: 

“HIGH-STAKES ENCOUNTER: US AND PHILIPPINE NAVY JOINTLY DESTROY CHINA COAST GUARD SHIP IN SOUTH CHINA SEA, ESCALATING TENSIONS.”

This is false. Clips from a near-collision between a CCG and a Philippine patrol vessel in 2023 and previous U.S. military exercises were put together to show the supposed destruction.

There are no reports of the U.S. and Philippine forces blasting a CCG vessel in the South China Sea.

The erroneous video started with a clip of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) firing a missile during an exercise on March 14, 2019. Some clips were from a compilation video of drills conducted by the U.S. Marines and Sailors, uploaded by YouTube channel Military Archive on Nov. 17, 2023. 

Clips of a CCG ship blocking a Philippine vessel in 2023, uploaded by AP Archive’s YouTube channel, were then inserted in between these videos to make it appear that the CCG ship was the one targeted by the military forces.

The video circulated as the 39th iteration of Balikatan, the largest annual PH-US training exercise, kicked off on April 22 and will run through May 10. In one of the naval drills, a decommissioned Philippine ship BRP Lake Caliraya that was made in China will be used as a missile target. The Philippine Navy however said that the selection was unintentional. 

VERA Files Fact Check has noted a rise in mis- and disinformation related to the tensions in the West Philippines Sea. (Read NO attack vs China, videos used unrelated images

The videos posted by two FB users collectively garnered 7,900 reactions, 335 comments, 714 shares and 252,000 views. TikTok user soldierscomingus’ video also has 76,500 reactions, 1,662 comments, 3,840 shares and 2,400,000 views.

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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.)