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Video shows 2020 military exercise in Matsu islands

August 5, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows China’s military exercise in Taiwan after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was filmed in November 2020, and shows a live fire exercise carried out by the Taiwanese army in Matsu, a group of islands off the country’s coast.

THE FACTS: After Pelosi defied Beijing and visited Taiwan this week, China responded with military exercises on Thursday, launching “precision missile strikes” near Taiwan’s coasts. China claims the self-governing island as part of its territory.

Social media users shared footage from a 2020 nighttime military exercise with false claims that it captures China’s current military drills.

Well #china is now poking again at #Taiwan,” stated a Facebook user, who posted the video on Aug. 2.

Last week, social media users shared a different clip from the military exercise that was taken from a similar angle. The clip, showing two people watching the exercise, while one sits on a motorcycle, circulated with false claims saying it shows China responding with “fireworks” ahead of Pelosi’s visit.

Both clips from the exercise can be found in video posted on Weibo, the Chinese social media site, as early as Nov. 13, 2020. The videos were filmed on a winding road that runs along the coast of the Nangan Township in Matsu. The street, crash barrier and brick pavement matches the scene captured on video.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry confirmed to The Associated Press that the videos in question are from Nov. 2020 and were part of live fire exercises conducted by the Taiwanese army in Matsu.

According to Matsu Daily, a government-affiliated media outlet, the army carried out the exercise on Nov. 6, 2020. Social media users also posted similar videos of the exercise on YouTube on the same day.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.