tv Inside Story 2020 Ep 12 Al Jazeera January 13, 2020 2:32pm-3:00pm +03
all conic eruption in the philippines is forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes 8000 people have already been evacuated from the island of tiny say where the volcano sits with thousands more leaving coastal towns flights from manila or tell of partially resumed after being grounded on sunday. in pakistan has overturned the treason conviction of former president pervez musharraf he was sentenced to death in december after being found guilty on charges related to his declaration of a state of emergency in 2007 the lahore high court ruled that the formation of the special time bunol that tried musharraf was unconstitutional he rushed it with headlines on al jazeera as always more news on our website at al-jazeera dot com inside story is next.
a landslide victory for taiwan's pro independence president and a firm no to china's plan to take back the island did once controlled so how might they respond defying when's emphatic when and how far is the u.s. prepared to go to defend it salah this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program i'm off this taiwan has chosen to reject krista ties with china president sighing when he favors independence one the most folks in
the island's history to secure a 2nd term it was just a year ago that our policy suffered major losses in local elections but months of anti-government protests in nearby home kong boosted size campaign scenes of police cracking down on demonstrators appears to have galvanized younger voters in particular side warned taiwan's democratic rights must be preserved china reiterated its long held position that taiwan will eventually be reunited with the mainland under going to the taiwanese people reject the one country 2 systems model we respect democracy and our sovereign rights as the president of taiwan i must deal with the cross trace relations according to the will of the people all right let's get a sample of opinion then from people in taiwan hong kong and china. i hope that both taiwan and china well china stop its military threats toward taiwan
. the high the time and he's paid attention to hong kong and our situation here and they are likely to be afraid that if they receive strong infiltration from the communist party they will end up being no different from the people of hong kong today. one is always part of china's territory many hope that the people across the straits can co-exist peacefully your heart this is one china principle it's also about chinese people have been longing for. well time on status is basically disputed it's officially known as the republic of china and has been self rule to since $950.00 but china considers it part of its territory that must be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary only 15 countries around the world officially recognize taiwan's government and the united states is not one of them but washington is the island's most important ally and trading partner taiwan has
its own military its own currency and a possible that's accepted in most countries but crucially it doesn't have a seat at the united nations. it was our let's introduce our guests now in taipei the taiwanese capital we have joseph chang a retired professor of political science at city university of hong kong in beijing we have and democracy in your research fellow with the center for china and globalization in singapore drew thompson a visiting senior research fellow with the league kuan yew school of public policy and a former u.s. defense department official welcome to you a bit joseph can i come to you 1st you are in the taiwanese capital but usually you're in hong kong of course and i was just wondering what your thoughts are about the influence the unrest in over the last 8 months in hong kong of had on the
politics of taiwan. on the basis of clear cut public opinion surveys in the beginning of chante 1900 or you the candidate of the commune 10 actually was the thing that tight began to turn in january last year when sitting paying announced at the one country 2 systems model suit apply to taiwan the gap rapidly narrowed and before the political crisis in hong kong in june 19th. one was leading by about 2 percent in the public opinion polls which was actually not not much but then when the political crisis in hong kong began the gap in popularity widened very much between the 2 candidates and when the public opinion
surveys close 10 days before the actual election in some opinion surveys one was the then by 30 percent so you was obvious that pressure from china. actually triggered taiwan voters to demand the government to take a strong position against beijing's pressure and under such terms 7 sentences they clearly opted for thai human and actually there was very little doubt about the election outcome concerning the presidential your actions one interesting point of observation was actually whether the governing democratic progressive party could maintain its absolute majority in the legislature and in fact it is to do rivals it 161 the candidates are in the 113 seats legislature
sorry jess if there's a bit of a delay on. line but thank you very much for that let's go to wendy in beijing and andy a quite clear big u.s. message then coming from the people of taiwan no to close links with china no to one country 2 systems policy that have been advocated by president xi. well i'm not sure that that we can make that tied a link between these 2 notions clearly the selection was a big win for high in one i would question a little bit at least perhaps that this is such a categorical rejection ventral reunification with china so this is one of the action i would agree that what has happened in hong kong has had an influence on the electorial dynamics in taiwan but i would question to that what happened in hong kong versus the narrative in the mainstream western media or 2
very separate things and i think that what has taken hold and has had an impact on the election in taiwan is the mainstream narrative that perhaps might not be completely accurate so one way we could look at this was that this clearly was a big win. for thai in one but does it really represents a repudiation of the taiwanese people's desire for unification well i'm not entirely sure that well as it's a record turnout something like 75 percent of the population turned out she got something like 57 percent of the vote and most analysts who who watch events in taiwan closely consider this a landslide and and as i've already mentioned an emphatic victory but let me ask you this andy it wasn't just the situation in hong kong what it had perhaps
a bearing on the way people in taiwan voted it was also the kind of as the taiwanese sort intimidatory measures taken by china in the run up to the election president she started the year by talking about this one country 2 systems there's been a lot of activity with regard to the the ships chinese ships which they've seen as being fairly threatening going along the taiwan straits i mean do you think china might have perhaps undertaken a policy that is eventually backfired. i think that's difficult to say i think clearly. the p.r.c. the mainland has an interest in the outcome of the selection and certainly i think would have preferred to have seen a different outcome but i don't think it's correct to say that this was a referendum on reunification or not so clearly there are there is a meaningful number of percentage of people in taiwan that are not currently for reunification with taiwan and i think they have their reasons but again this is one
election it clearly was a big win for type one and for the d.p.p. but whether or not this affects the ultimate trajectory of a reunification of the mainland by i would suggest remains to be seen all right let's go to drew now in singapore and drew interesting the u.s. reaction to the election has come in the form of might compare the secretary of state talking about the strong partnership that the u.s. and taiwan enjoy and applauds the president's commitment to maintaining cross street stability in the face of relenting pressure so that's the initial response coming from the u.s. to this victory is the u.s. under president trump continuing with this policy that it had in place for some years now one strategic ambiguity well i think u.s.
policy is not going to shift and hasn't changed and wouldn't have changed even if there was a different outcome in this election the u.s. interest based approach towards taiwan has is preserving its its security preserving its current way of life and its social systems and its economic systems and its very vibrant democracy so so u.s. support for taiwan is enduring and has been strong regardless of which party was in power in taipei so in some ways this is going to be a continuation and. we can expect as we move into a time when 2nd term that they'll be a deepening and strengthening of that bilateral relationship but drew under the trumpet ministration there's been the approval of the sale of some what something like 66 f. 16 fighter jets this is something that the obama administration and the bush administration refused to approve because of the potential of provoking china yet the trumpet ministration has agreed to this sale of these jets president trump is
also spoken remember in 2 of the 16 when he was president elect spoken directly on the phone to president sign which is something that hasn't happened before is he moving away from that that delicate balancing act that the u.s. says has maintains its 979. so one thing to remember arms sales are not the only measure of u.s. support for taiwan it's a very important and very busy visible one and yes the trumpet ministration and under 3 years has sold more weaponry to or as offered to sell more weaponry to taiwan than either of the previous administrations did over 2 terms so so one issue of course though is it's going to be impossible for taiwan to continue to purchase arms from the united states at that same pace and rate it's just it's it's just an realistic based on taiwan's available defense resources taiwan is going to have to invest a lot of time and energy into now incorporating these newly acquired weapons into their inventory and learning how to operate them so i think we may see
a slowdown in arms sales but that's not as much a political signal as just the reality of the ability of the taiwan military to absorb these new systems so the u.s. isn't going to move away from it current posture and position towards taiwan it's going to support taiwan is a valuable and important partner in the region it respects and appreciates it democracy it's a important trading partner i think it's the 11th largest trading partner of the united states so i think the u.s. policy is going to be the same towards i want and of course it's still based on very sound and very successful policies that are both law and practice right said andy in beijing i mean is it fair to draw a parallel between what seemed to be deteriorating relations between taiwan and china and the u.s. and china both relationships both axes of of cooperation if you like at a particularly tense state. well i would say that i think that this
. relationship between the u.s. and china and taiwan is in flux and part of it is i'm not entirely sure that this assertion that the u.s. will maintain its commitment to taiwan will continue perhaps it will but i think if we look at the broader direction of u.s. foreign policy in this under this administration there clearly has been a rethinking of some fundamental assumptions relationships with allies the american commitment not just to taiwan but other parts of the world to europe to the kurds for example so i think there are a lot of questions raised in different capitals around the world i would think even in taipei as well that how committed is the u.s. to its previous course of action that being said i think on the other side of this
argument is that the current administration i think is very commercial minded perhaps a bit more transactional. putting less value in some of these intangibles like. alliances shared values things like that but much more perhaps transactional so i think that that is an important shift the other is there clearly has been a sea change in the view towards china in that. under the obama administration earlier ministrations there was this idea of engagement and i think with president trump it really is more of a head to head kind of relationship so there have been i think some major changes in how it affects taiwan in the long run i think is an enormous question mark and remains to be seen if coming to you are in the taiwanese capital and of course you
know many reside in hong kong. is this something that worries you the apparent shift in the united states in terms of its engagement internationally and he was pointing out i mean the trumpet ministration is spending a lot of its time criticizing multilateral institutions but also withdrawing or at least announcing withdrawals from the international stage is that something that worries you in hong kong and of course in taiwan. well done lou trans foreign policy approach worries a lot of people 'd in the international community in a small transaction no it emphasizes on american america comes 1st and so on but is emphasis is part of the asia pacific region is very distinct and i think people in hong kong people in taiwan are encouraged by the shifting opinion trends in the united states that increasingly they are they would like to reassess the
true nature of the chinese communist regime i must respond to n.d.s. point about it is just another you election i think public opinion surveys in taiwan which is carefully conducted has song that in the past 2 decades 60 to some of the percent of people in taiwan would lie very much to maintain just the status quo and less than 5 percent less than 5 percent of the people in taiwan would opt for rapid unification actually in this election or candidate we turn to the one country 2 systems model so it is not just one election it is a very clear cut demonstration of political will on the part of the people in taiwan but joseph and his contention is that eventually at some point taiwan
will be reabsorbed by of the it's a far greater neighbor but what i wanted to ask you is how does president sign now proceed given this this mandate that she has and is she going to retain the status quo which is a fairly precarious balancing act or is she prepared to go further if she prepared to make a formal declaration of independence for instance. it is not expected that its high in one administration will initiate any serious departure from the present position she has been careful not to provoke sea uses the term republic of china taiwan so as to tries to maintain a balance and again not to provoke be jane there is a certain worry on the part of the people in taiwan that perhaps the siege in ping and ministration may be too eager to accomplish the reunification within his tenure
and in that case there may be rapid escalation of tension across the taiwan straits but certainly people in taiwan and italian one administration will be more careful about exchanges of will far of will of the chinese authorities and there has a recent law passed to highlight the threat from beijing in terms of infiltrating the taiwanese society. a preventive measures have been introduced in the reason that stuck to our right andy said the people of taiwan do you feel that there is a particular particularly a robust approach coming from president xi in particular with regard to the possible potential reunification of taiwan president xi himself has said that he is prepared to use force if necessary is he prepared to take action is he prepared to
mount weapons and take taiwan using military muscle. well 1st i want to respond to joseph's point and i think i would agree with him with you joseph that this really then was not a referendum on reunification. now public opinion can and often does change it can be very fickle and even in places like the united states there's enormous concern about outside inappropriate interference in elections and the shaping of political will so given the number of years i think that taiwan the taiwanese people have been subject to one a one sided narrative i think about what china is like what the c.p.c. is like what reunification might be like it's not surprising at all that there are
significant numbers of people in taiwan with a negative opinion on this question but also i think to look at it more optimistically there also is the opportunity for change just as we see around the world as more and more of the china story is better understood some of the concerns even the paranoia about it have gone down so i think that that is an optimistic take. force i think has never been ruled out but it would be the last choice i believe for the p.r.c. government it's in no one's interest it certainly would not be in the interest of the people of taiwan or any other countries that chose to to get involved so but i think given the situation especially with the arm sales the other support that the united states is providing to taiwan that having
a military option on the table i think is. necessary. and drew in singapore if the military option. remains on the table as andy said how far is the u.s. or how far would the u.s. be prepared to defend its ally in this particular issue and then the other side if i can is you how far is taiwan seen as being part of a bigger deal the trade deal with between the u.s. and china as far as washington is concerned. and so those 2 questions but i want to respond to something that any that we haven't got a huge amount of time drew so make it quick ok. well i mean i think one thing to point out is in terms of public opinion in taiwan that the media on taiwan is largely majority pro china so i would say that the taiwanese public gets a very very nuanced and very. friendly view of china and their day to day
consumption so in that perspective i think the taiwanese people are making a very very well informed choice about about their preference for china for their relationship with the mainland i also think it's really important to point out that this is not really you reunification that's a loaded term the island of taiwan and the people on taiwan have never been a part of the people's republic of china so in terms of the u.s. commitment to taiwan. the u.s. and taiwan do not have a mutual defense treaty that was abrogated after after switching recognition in 1979 but there is the taiwan relations act that requires the united states to maintain the military capability to defend taiwan and at the same time while there isn't a military obligation under law there is more importantly the u.s. position in the region that it has to protect i mean u.s. credibility would be on the line and should should the u.s. not come to taiwan's defense it would call into question its credibility with all of its other alliance partners japan korea australia new zealand many of these
islands are being questioned i mean sorry to interrupt but many of these longstanding alliances are being questioned under the trumpet ministration. and i think if you look at what the united states government is doing they are investing heavily in military capabilities they are investing in economic development they are putting a lot of diplomatic effort into coordinating with allies and partners to strengthen this is the whole indo-pacific strategy they're talking about the u.s. government is increasingly focused on the region and in an effort to bolster that credibility so while it's being questioned the government's responding and it's spending a lot of money and capital into building up those partnerships and relationships so that its credibility isn't questioned anymore but it's always going to be in china's interest to question that credibility just as andy has done and all of his comment about not being sure not being sure about trump the reality is the u.s. interests are in the region and they're going to protect them in taiwan is a critical interest all right we could talk forever couldn't we thank you very much
gentlemen judge of chang normally in hong kong but luckily for us in the taiwanese capital taipei thank you so much indeed really good to talk to you in the chinese capital and taunts and in singapore thank you very much indeed and as ever thank you for watching the program you can see it again any time you like by going to the website al-jazeera dot com should you well discuss and there's always a facebook page facebook dot com full especially a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter at a.j. inside story is our handle and i'm at 19 dennis for me and the whole team here in doha is frightening.
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