OLD photos passed off as foreign warships headed to WPS

June 26, 2024


As tension continues to escalate between the Philippines and China, old photos from military exercises are being passed off as foreign warships sailing to the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Last June 14, a Facebook (FB) page uploaded several posts containing images of warships and aircraft allegedly on their way to the WPS. Two posts bore a similar caption:

“Dozens of Warships and Air Forces from all over the world are heading to the West Philippine sea.”

Two more posts uploaded a day later also bore a caption with almost the same claim. It reads:

“Dozens of U.S. Warships Most Powerful in the world are heading to the West Philippine sea”

These posts are misleading. The images are old and show United States’ carrier strike groups during military exercises.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK - THE FACTS: The posts showing foreign warships allegedly on their way to the West Philippine Sea are misleading. The photos are old and show the United States’ carrier strike groups in previous military exercises.VERA FILES FACT CHECK - THE FACTS: The posts showing foreign warships allegedly on their way to the West Philippine Sea are misleading. The photos are old and show the United States’ carrier strike groups in previous military exercises.

The photos uploaded on June 14 are of the U.S. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operating in the Philippine Sea during the field training exercise Valiant Shield on Sept. 25, 2020.

Two photos posted on June 15 are of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and CSG 9 ships sailing in formation in the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 10, 2023.

Another image posted on June 15 is of the USS Abraham Lincoln and CSG 3 ships performing a simulated strait transit in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 11, 2021.

The misleading posts continue to circulate amid heightened tension between the Philippines and China over disputed areas in the South China Sea.

On June 17, the China Coast Guard blocked the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) humanitarian rotation and resupply operation to the BRP Sierra Madre military outpost in Ayungin Shoal “employing physical attacks, bladed weapons, blaring sirens, and blinding strobe lights.”

“The Chinese Coast Guard has no right or legal authority to interfere with our legitimate operations or damage our assets within our Exclusive Economic Zone. This reckless and aggressive behavior has caused bodily harm and constitutes a blatant violation of international maritime law, Philippine sovereignty, and sovereign rights,” the AFP’s statement on the incident read.

The misleading posts by the FB page Military Reborn (created on June 11, 2020 as US Military Post) collectively garnered 13,400 reactions, 3,747 comments and 854 shares. The FB page’s display picture is also a photo of an aircraft powertrain repairer of the U.S. Army.



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VERA Files

VERA Files is a nonstock, nonprofit, independent media organization. Founded in March 2008, it is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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