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tv   Ros Atkins on... China- Taiwan...  BBC News  October 16, 2021 6:45pm-7:00pm BST

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sport website. we will see seen. —— we will see you soon. this is a story about how a historic dispute has become part of a global power struggle. all the trainlines are pointing towards escalation and would make de—escalation extremely difficult if it came to blows in the taiwan strait. if you go a couple of hundred kilometres off the south—east coast of china you reach taiwan, an island that behaves as an independent state. beijing, though, considers it part of china and this graphic shows taiwan's air defence zone which chinese military planes have increasingly entered, crossing an unofficial line between mainland china and taiwan, and these incursions have risen through the year. and to taiwan this is more than just military posturing. its defence minister says the situation is worse than it's been for a0 years, and when asked if china's capable of invading
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taiwan, this was the reply. translation: after 2025 i they will be fully prepared. that's our assessment. the us sees a threat, too. here's the wall street journal telling us... my colleague michael bristow covered the story. these unnamed us officials are confirming that us special forces are in taiwan because it wants to remind beijing, at a time of heightened tension over taiwan, that the united states does still stand behind taiwan and will help it defend itself. china's response to american support of taiwan would not be clearer. translation: the taiwan question is purely china's internal affair. - we will not tolerate any outside interference. as you can hear, taiwan finds itself between the tectonic plates of world power. china's economic military and economic might is on the move
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and america and its allies are trying to manage that — even contain it. the americans make no secret of this. the director of the cia this year described the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st—century as "an increasingly adversarial chinese government," and people in taiwan well understand the position they're in. translation: we are a small island i nation so we're like a bargaining . chip in negotiations between big countries. i don't know when there'll be a war but i think it's very likely to happen. if it really comes to that we'll have to see which country has more resources and is more willing to support us. for these reasons and more, tensions around taiwan risk disturbing the uneasy equilibrium in the region, and to understand these current tensions we need to go back to their roots, in 1949. that's when china's nationalist government was defeated by the communists and fled to taiwan. by 1950, the island was effectively independent.
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70 years on, taiwan, while once a dictatorship, is now a democracy with press freedom. china, meanwhile, is an oppressive single—party state. both have seen rapid economic growth, and beijing's position on taiwan hasn't wavered since 1950. it sees it as part of china and says it'll do whatever is necessary to take it back. that's relevant when we listen to president xi's language in this statement. translation: the chinese people will never allow - foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us. anyone who dares to try will have their heads bashed, bloodied against the great wall of steel, forged by more than 1.4 billion people. the shifting tone can also be seen in the state—owned global times newspaper. look at this cartoon, depicting an invasion of taiwan
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and seizing of the presidential palace. this could be put down to bombastic rhetoric and no more, but the context here is that chinese military power is growing rapidly. this is one of beijing's regular military parades, and this is what china says it spent on the military each year since 1990. it also claims that in the coming 12 months it will spend another $210 billion. that would be more than any other country — bar america. and this military expansion is, in part, about america. beijing forces have always dwarfed the taiwanese military, but china knows if it were to act against taiwan, the americans and their allies are present, militarily and diplomatically. us secretary of state antony blinken puts it this way. the united states has a commitment to taiwan that is rock solid, and, over many years has contributed to the maintenance of peace and stability across the taiwan strait and within the region. and look at these pictures. here we have the us alongside japan, the uk, canada, the netherlands and new zealand, conducting naval exercises in the philippine sea this month. there are also us military
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bases across the region, the biggest being in south korea and injapan. and the us is busy shoring up its alliances. remember this from september? the uk, the us and australia signed a defence pact called aukus, with the clear intention of countering china. and in the middle of all of these aspects of america's approach to the region lies its policy on taiwan. it's often called "strategic ambiguity". what that describes is how us has signalled a willingness to defend taiwan but has never defined precisely how and if it will. the analyst isabel hilton explains more. and you can argue this has worked. taiwan's now a prosperous democracy and there's been
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no conflict with china, but if it's worked so far you'd be right to ask, well, what's changed? well, the chinese government is not known for explaining itself, but there are reasons that perhaps it wanted to act now. the first is taiwan's president tsai ing—wen. she wants taiwan to be independent of china. this pro—beijing analyst believes china's show of military power is, in part, a message to the taiwanese president. huiyao wang also presents a second factor — that china is also being unreasonably provoked.
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the third possible reason for china's actions comes from retired us army general stanley mcchrystal. perhaps china is doing this now...because it can. it's different than five or ten or 20 years ago because the chinese military now has enough credible power to at least contest with the united states over the potential defence of taiwan. and that's a very different dynamic. and this different dynamic is one beijing is well aware of, not least because of what it's done in hong kong. injune 2020, china brought in new laws that drastically changed policing, democracy and freedom of speech in hong kong. the west condemned the laws, but they stayed. beijing had done precisely what it wanted — and that brings us back to taiwan and whether china may now feel emboldened to act. even the prospect has observers worried. back injuly, the diplomat magazine described taiwan's fragile status quo.
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it argued that "the status quo in the taiwan strait "looks increasingly shaky. "its demise would almost certainly usher in a major conflict," it told us, "and undermine regional stability in east asia and even the "international order as know it." the stakes are high. the cost of war is, of course, one reason countries pull back from conflict. but the risk remains — eitherfrom chinese invasion and what may follow, or from a miscalculation or mistake from either side that prompts an accidental war. and at the heart of these risks is a decision for china. it was outlined by us national security adviserjake sullivan when asked this by the bbc. do you think china will invade taiwan? i'm not going to make any predictions. what i'm going to say is this. from the united states' perspective,
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there are certain fundamental obligations, and one of them is no unilateral changes to the status quo. and this cuts to it. taiwan and the us want the status quo. china does not. and must now decide what is willing to do to change that. and right there you have a microcosm of this global power struggle, with the world's current superpower wanting things as they are, and the world's coming superpower wanting things to change, with both having vast militaries to support their ambitions as well. and so taiwan's status has become a test of the limits of america's power and the possibilities of china's. when we consider that, taiwan becomes something we all have an interest in. hello, there. temperatures are set
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to climb in the next few days but don't be expecting blue skies and sunshine all the way. in fact, despite the very mild or even warm feel to the weather we are going to see some outbreaks of rain at times and it will often be windy, quite unsettled start the new week. this is sunday's weather chart, low in the wind out towards the west which is going to be moving slowly eastwards in the next few days and in the shorter term this wiggling weather front in the shorter term this wiggling weatherfront bringing in the shorter term this wiggling weather front bringing cloud and in some outbreaks of rain. as we go through the day vane will tend to turn increasingly light and patchy, sunny spells, and later in the day in scotland, wales and in the midlands. temp temperatures if we do see some sunshine and was a south wales 19 degrees, 1a for the north there in glasgow. as we had to sunday night, quite a lot of cloud rent, spots of here and there, maybe some mist and merck as well and we move on into monday and our area of low pressure continues this very slowjourney
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low pressure continues this very slow journey eastwards low pressure continues this very slowjourney eastwards in this frontal system set to introduce some outbreaks of rain so we will see a lot of cloud through monday, some outbreaks of showery vein shifting quite erratically eastwards and there will be some heavy bursts, a little bit of sunshine here and there as well but the wins will be coming up from the south, quite brisk winds across western areas but that wind direction is going to be feeding some quite mild air across the uk so 1a degrees for aberdeen, 18 there in norwich and in london and temperatures have further to climb as we get into tuesday with our area of low pressure still trundling slowly eastwards and this vehicle in the weather front here likely to bring some heavy vein into western areas but the winds coming over the way up from the south bringing very mild or even warm air our way in tuesday is set to be the warmest day of the week ahead with outbreaks of rain moving across western areas and perhaps in drier, brighter conditions at time further east and given some sunshine that is where temperatures could get up to
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20 or possibly 21 degrees. now, we won't hold on to temperatures as high as that and as we may through tuesday night into wednesday this cold front will push its way eastwards with outbreaks of rain behind the front of the able turn cool and our area of low pressure by this stage tracking right on top of the uk and on the southern flank of that low it will be a swathe of gales. uncertainly about where the windiest weather will be but that could cause some disruption. some showers or longer spells of rain, temperatures a little bit down, 14-18 temperatures a little bit down, 14—18 and those temperatures will fall back even further on thursday. it is likely that any wet weather will be exiting southwards with northerly winds developing behind so despite some sunshine temperatures by thursday will be struggling a little bit. nine degrees in the north, 13-14 little bit. nine degrees in the north, 13—14 out towards the south so a cooler spell as we head towards the end of next week with these northerly winds in place and now it looks like that northerly spell of weather won't last all that long
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neither will the little ridge of high pressure that accompanies it so it will be cooler and a bit drier for a time but then later in the week towards the weekend, low—pressure returns and it will start to turn more unsettled once again. temperatures might climb a little bit but we will see some rain at times and the potential for some quite windy weather as well. that's all for me. bye for now.
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this is bbc news with shaun ley — the headlines at 7pm. tributes are paid to the tory mp sir david amess who was killed yesterday at his constituency surgery. police say they're treating the killing as a terrorist incident. as the investigation continues, officials say the 25—year—old man in custody was not on a database of terror suspects. the united nations has withdrawn its invitation to matt hancock to take up an unpaid role helping africa s economies recover from covid—19. the supermarket morrisons say they've been forced to delay opening new stores due to shortages of staff and stock. uncovering the secrets of the solar system, a new nasa mission aims to learn more about how the planets were created.

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