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Photos show flare warnings off Gibraltar Coast and SoKor, not WPS

A YouTube video used old photos of flare warnings off Gibraltar Coast and South Korea, falsely claiming that these were flares China and Vietnam had fired during a recent Philippine aerial mission near the disputed Panganiban Reef and a shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Terong Explained, a YouTube channel that mostly reports about the West Philippine Sea, uploaded the video on Dec. 13 titled:  

EROPLANO NG PINAS NASUBUKAN! China At Vietnam Pinaulanan Ang EROPLANO Ng Pinas Sa Mischief Reef (PHILIPPINE AIRCRAFT TESTED! China and Vietnam fired flares at the Philippine Aircraft on Mischief Reef)

China on Dec. 11 fired flares as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ aerial mission approached Panganiban or Mischief Reef, according to a GMA News report.

But the misleading video showed at the 1:07 mark a photo which a reverse image search dates back to Nov. 20, 2016 when the Royal Navy’s HMS Sabre launched flares off a Spanish vessel spotted on the Gibraltar coast. 

It fired the signal after the Spanish vessel did what the British Navy said was an “aggressive and harassing maneuver” and refused to leave the British territorial waters. 

The YouTube video flashed at 2:09 another image it claimed shows Vietnam shooting flares to bar the Philippine aircraft from entering a shoal it (Vietnam) occupies.

A reverse image search reveals that the photo was taken during the search operations for passenger ferry MV Sewol, which capsized near the coast of South Korea on April 16, 2014.

Panganiban Reef is being disputed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines. It is located 130 nautical miles west of Palawan and within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. The reef is 599 nautical miles away from China’s Hainan Island.

China continues to reclaim Mischief Reef by building infrastructure projects despite a 2016 Hague ruling that affirmed the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the reef.

The video has garnered 89,285 views, 2,500 likes and 319 comments as of writing. The channel, which was created on Oct. 6, 2015 and has more than 462,000 subscribers, has been fact-checked by Rappler, Vera Files and FactRakers over the usage of unrelated clips, misleading thumbnails and old photos in its other videos. (RL)


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