Fact check: Video shows US Navy training exercise from 2020, not recent Taiwan footage

·3 min read

The claim: Video shows US Navy planes flying near Taiwan before Pelosi visit

Chinese military threats of retaliation over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan have sparked misinformation on social media.

A Facebook video shared July 30 showed U.S. military aircraft flying above a naval fleet. The post claims the U.S. Navy was sent ahead of Pelosi's visit on Aug. 2.

"Just in : US Navy War Planes fly near Taiwan. Before the visit of the speaker of US Representatives House Nancy Pelosi, tension in the region has reached its highest level (sic)," reads the caption.

The video garnered more than 900 views within four days. Similar posts have amassed interactions on Twitter.

But the video is not connected to Pelosi's visit. The footage shows a military training exercise from 2020, a spokesperson for the Navy told USA TODAY.

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USA TODAY reached out to the users who shared the claim for comment.

In this photo released by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, top, and other members of her delegation wave as they prepare to leave Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022.
In this photo released by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, top, and other members of her delegation wave as they prepare to leave Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022.

Video predates Taiwan visit

The clip shows a U.S. Navy training exercise from Sept. 25, 2020, in the Philippine Sea, Andrew Bertucci, a spokesperson for the Navy, told USA TODAY.

"The video taken was from a sailor and not an official Navy production," Bertucci said. Official images of the exercise can be found on a Department of Defense website.

The exercise, dubbed "Valiant Shield," allows "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,” according to the video description on a Department of Defense website.

The video seen in the Facebook post matches a video uploaded to YouTube on April 15, 2021. It was also published on TikTok a day later.

Fact check: Video of live-firing drill in Taiwan dates back to 2020

In the leadup to Pelosi's visit, U.S. Navy warships, including an aircraft carrier, were operating in the Western Pacific near Taiwan in what officials said are standard military drills amid rising tensions with China.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows U.S. Navy aircraft flying near Taiwan before Pelosi's visit. The clip shows a military training exercise from 2020, a U.S. Navy spokesperson said.

Our fact-checking sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Video shows 2020 Navy training, not recent Taiwan footage