US destroyer passes through Taiwan Strait… Venezuela’s local elections, the ruling party wins

This is ‘Global Village Today’, which delivers major news from various countries around the world.

Moderator) What news do you have today?

Reporter) Yes. A US destroyer has crossed the Taiwan Strait again a week after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first summit meeting. In Venezuela’s local elections, the Socialist Party led by President Nicolas Maduro has won a landslide victory. We will continue to share with you the news that recently, there have been criticisms that democracy is going backwards around the world.

Host) This is the first news from the global village today. U.S. ships passed through the Taiwan Strait again?

Reporter) Yes. The USS Milius, an Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer belonging to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, passed through the Taiwan Strait on the 23rd. The U.S. Pacific Fleet published a press release on its website on the same day and disclosed this fact.

Moderator) Are US ships frequently passing through the Taiwan Strait recently?

Reporter) Yes. It has been passing through the Taiwan Strait almost once a month since this year. In particular, last month, a U.S. and Canadian warship passed through the Taiwan Strait with a one-day difference, and China strongly protested.

Moderator) The reason why China is protesting is because it considers Taiwan to be part of its country?

Reporter) That’s right. China recognizes the title of ‘Taiwan’ under the so-called ‘one China’ principle and ’92 formula’, but sees it as its own territory that must one day be unified. Therefore, it claims that the Taiwan Strait, a narrow strait between China and Taiwan, is also its territorial waters.

Host) On the other hand, does the US view the Taiwan Strait as high seas?

Reporter) Yes. Contrary to China’s claim, the international community, such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, is of the position that any country has the right to freely use the Taiwan Strait as it is a clear high sea under international law.

Moderator) So, the US warship passing through the Taiwan Strait this time must have been developed in the same vein?

Reporter) That’s right. In a press release released on the 23rd of the US Navy, the US Navy stressed that the Milius had regular operations through international waters in accordance with international law, demonstrating the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. military will fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits, he added.

Moderator) How did China react to the news that the US warship had passed through the Taiwan Strait again?

Reporter) As before, the United States strongly protested, saying that it had made a provocation that harmed peace and stability in the region. At a regular briefing on the 23rd, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the US is provoking several times with the so-called ‘freedom of navigation’. claimed to be.

Host) At the first summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, the Taiwan issue was one of the most important topics on the agenda, right?

Reporter) Yes. At the time, President Biden said he supported the “one China” principle, a long-standing policy guiding principle of the US government. However, he stressed that he opposes any unilateral attempt to change the current status. In response, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China will be patient and pursue the goal of peaceful unification, but will take decisive action if divisive forces in Taiwan cross the ban.

Moderator) In the midst of this, was there a high-level event between the United States and Taiwan?

Reporter) Yes. The ‘Economic Prosperity Partnership for Teenager (EPPD)’ was held by video on the 22nd, co-hosted by the ‘American Association of Taiwanese Citizens (AIT)’ and ‘Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO)’.

Moderator) Is this the second time that the Economic Prosperity Partnership Program (EPPD) is being held?

Reporter) That’s right. It was first held in November last year during the Donald Trump administration. As the name of the meeting suggests, the two sides aimed to devise ways of cooperation centered on the economic agenda. During the first round of dialogue, the Taiwanese delegation visited Washington in person.

Moderator) So, is this meeting held regularly?

Reporter) During the first round of talks, both sides agreed to hold the meeting alternately in the United States and Taiwan. However, it was unclear whether this would continue as the United States was replaced by the Biden administration. Last week, the State Department announced that it was holding a second round of talks.

Moderator) Who attended this meeting from both sides?

Reporter) Yes. José Fernandez, Deputy Minister for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment of the State Department from the United States, and Wang Meihua, Minister of Economic Affairs from Taiwan, were in attendance.

Moderator) I wonder what kind of results were achieved at the meeting.

Reporter) Yes. The organizers, the American Association of Taiwanese Association (AIT) and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representatives in the United States (TECRO), issued a press release after the meeting. The two sides announced that they agreed to intensively discuss and strengthen cooperation in areas such as supply chain recovery and economic cooperation, the digital economy and 5G networks, and science and technology at this meeting. At the same time, the two sides decided to launch an advisory group to strengthen the economy and trade. Next year, the 3rd EPPD will be held in Taiwan.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido speaks to the media after the results of the elections were announced on the 22nd.

Moderator) The global village is the next news today. This time we will go to Venezuela, South America. Venezuela election results?

Reporter) Yes. Venezuela held local elections on the 21st. The ruling party, led by President Nicolas Maduro, appears to have won a landslide. The Venezuelan Election Commission announced on the 22nd that the ‘United Socialist Party’ had won at least 18 states.

Moderator) How many provinces are there in Venezuela?

Reporter) 23 states. Earlier, the Venezuelan National Election Commission announced that the Socialist Party had won 20 of 23 states. However, the National Election Commission later said the results of two states, Barinas and Apure, had not yet been confirmed.

Moderator) Anyway, if the ruling party candidate won in at least 18 of the 23 states, it would have been a landslide victory, right?

Reporter) Yes. Opposition parties, on the other hand, have only won three states so far.

Moderator) The Venezuelan opposition is led by former National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido, right?

Reporter) That’s right. Former National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido has been leading the opposition by self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela since 2019. Guaido has been campaigning against the government, claiming that the 2018 presidential election is illegal and calling for Maduro’s resignation.

Moderator) It’s been a while since the Venezuelan opposition party participated in the election, right?

Reporter) That’s right. This election is the first in four years that the opposition party, which has been opposed to the Maduro regime, has joined. The Venezuelan opposition has boycotted, or rejected, both the 2018 and last year’s parliamentary elections, arguing that Maduro’s regime was illegal and making fair elections impossible.

Moderator) But why did you decide to participate in this local election?

Reporter) Yes. Public opinion against the opposition is worsening as the US government sanctions against the Maduro regime have not been effective and economic and social difficulties continue. Here, it is an analysis that a sense of crisis that the boycott strategy has limitations led to the decision to participate in the election.

Moderator) But why did the opposition party perform so poorly in this election?

Reporter) First of all, the decision to participate in the election was too late. Here, internal divisions emerged in the nomination process, leading to defeat. After the election results came out on the 22nd, former Chairman Guaido emphasized that it is not the time for leaders to fight and be selfish, and to reflect on themselves and rebuild.

Moderator) Is there any controversy surrounding this election?

Reporter) This election was conducted under the supervision of an international observer sent by the European Union (EU), etc. It is known that there was no serious misconduct in the first report due to be submitted on the 23rd. However, Secretary of State Tony Blincoln criticized Maduro’s government for harassing opposition candidates and manipulating voter lists, distorting the process to favor the ruling party.

Moderator) Let’s take a look at President Maduro’s reaction to this election.

Reporter) Yes. President Maduro celebrated a beautiful victory, arguing that all Venezuelans should respect the election results and prepare for a new era. Meanwhile, Cuba, a longtime ally of Venezuela, sent a congratulatory message to President Maduro on the 22nd, before the final results were announced.

Some women protest the Taliban policy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. (File photo)

Some women protest the Taliban policy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. (File photo)

Host) Global Village Today, let’s look at one more news. Recently, has it been pointed out that democracy is regressing around the world?

Reporter) Yes. This is what the International Democracy and Election Assistance Agency (IDEA), headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, revealed in its ‘World Democracy 2021’ report. The report assessed that during the coronavirus pandemic there was a general regression of democracy around the world.

Moderator) How many countries did the report cover?

Reporter) We evaluate 165 countries. The evaluation targets are divided into three categories: democracy, mixed, and authoritarian regimes.

Moderator) Curious how the numbers came out for each item?

Reporter) In this report, the number of democracies was the lowest in recent years, with 98 countries. 20 countries had mixed systems such as Russia, and 47 countries had authoritarian systems such as China. As a whole, the report explained that the number of countries moving in the authoritarian direction outnumbered those moving in the democratic direction.

Moderator) Specifically, how much has the number of countries with a backward level of democracy increased?

Reporter) Yes. The number of countries with backward democracies has doubled in the last decade, with a quarter of the world’s population living in these countries, the report explains. The report cites the United States, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia as examples of these countries.

Moderator) Is the United States entering a country with a backward level of democracy?

Reporter) Yes. It is said to be the first time ever. The report noted that while the United States still practices a high level of democracy, it has recently had serious problems with civil rights and government checks. In particular, he said the turning point was when then-President Donald Trump challenged the presidential election results in 2020 and 2021.

Moderator) President Trump and his supporters have always claimed that the election results were fraudulent, and in the end, on January 6 of this year, Trump supporters broke into the Capitol, right?

Reporter) That’s right. In addition to this incident, IDEA Executive Director Kevin Casas-Zamora said, “American democracy is in retreat, as evidenced by suppression of election participation and unbridled polarization.”

Moderator) Did you know that there are also some pointed out that the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a bad effect on the implementation of democracy?

Reporter) Yes. There have been many cases of restricting basic rights such as freedom of the press and freedom of assembly in the name of corona prevention. The IDEA report pointed out just that. As of August 2021, 64% of the countries surveyed pointed out that they had implemented inappropriate, unnecessary and illegal measures to combat the coronavirus.

Moderator) Are you curious about the situation locally?

Reporter) First, in Asia, the report pointed out that Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Myanmar suffered under an increasingly authoritarian regime. In Africa, the coronavirus pandemic has recently undermined many of the achievements of democracy over the past 30 years. In Europe, the corona situation has put a lot of pressure on the implementation of democracy.The report pointed out.

Moderator) Yes. The global village will listen up to today.