CLAIM: Video shows US Navy near Taiwan ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.
AP ASSESSMENT: False. A spokesperson for tthe Navy confirmed to The Associated Press where the video was shot September 25, 2020, and shows a biannual U.S. military training exercise featuring multiple ships and aircraft in the Philippine Sea.
THE FACTS: Pelosi flew to Taiwan tuesday, on a US Air Force airliner. She is the highest U.S. official in 25 years to visit the self-governing island that China says is its territory. After Pelosi defied China’s warnings, China responded by carrying out military exercises as show of forcesending fighter planes.
Social media users have distorted a video of a US military exercise, saying the clip shows the Navy near Taiwan for Pelosi’s visit.
“US Navy planes near Taiwan,” said a fake tweet sharing the video on Monday. “Since Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, tension in the region has reached its highest level. There are also very harsh statements coming from China.” The video has had over 345,000 views.
False messages also circulated in Spanish claiming that the fleet was escorting Pelosi during his visit.
The video, showing several Navy ships and several military aircraft flying over the fleet, can be found posted on TikTok and YouTube as early as April 2021. But the exercise did not take place in 2021.
After viewing the video, a Navy spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press that the footage shows the Valiant Shield training exercise and he was captured on September 252020, in the Philippine Sea.
Some of the Navy ships that participated in the exercise include Sec freighter and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew, dock landing ship USS Comstock, missile cruiser USS Shiloh, with attack submarine USS Chicago, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Military aircraft also flew over the fleet.
According to Navy Description from Valiant Shield: “This training provides real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces by detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.”
After a visit that heightened tensions between China and the United States, Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday. She is also traveling to South Korea and Japan this week.
This is part of AP’s efforts to combat widely shared misinformation, including working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.