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Video shows US military training exercise, not Navy near Taiwan for Pelosi’s visit

August 3, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows the U.S. Navy near Taiwan ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A spokesperson for the Navy confirmed to The Associated Press that the video was filmed on Sept. 25, 2020, and shows a biennial U.S. military training exercise featuring several ships and aircrafts in the Philippine Sea.

THE FACTS: Pelosi flew into Taiwan on Tuesday, on a U.S. Air Force passenger jet. She’s the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island that China claims is part of their territory. After Pelosi defied China’s warnings, China responded by carrying out military drills as a show of force, sending out fighter jets.

Social media users misrepresented a video of a U.S. military exercise, claiming the clip shows the Navy near Taiwan for Pelosi’s visit.

“US Navy aircraft near Taiwan,” stated a false tweet sharing the video on Monday. “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 had more than 345,000 views.

False posts circulated in Spanish as well, claiming that the fleet was escorting Pelosi during her visit.

The video, showing several Navy ships and multiple military aircrafts flying over the fleet, can be found posted on TikTok and YouTube as early as April 2021. But the exercise did not occur in 2021.

After viewing the video, a spokesperson for the Navy confirmed to The Associated Press that the footage shows the Valiant Shield training exercise and it was captured on Sept. 25, 2020, in the Philippine Sea.

Some of the Navy ships that participated in the exercise include dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew, dock landing ship USS Comstock, guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh, along with attack submarine USS Chicago, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Military aircrafts also flew over the fleet.

According to the Navy’s description of Valiant Shield: “This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through 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 U.S., Pelosi departed Taiwan on Wednesday. She is also traveling to South Korea and Japan this week.

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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.