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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  October 23, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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whether julia eventually will become a regular character will depend. rob matheson. al jazeera. >> you can get all the latest at our website, >> i'm ali velshi on target tonight. china builds island bases in the middle of a crucial trade route. and the bet on the bahamas might go bust. this is another sign of president obama's pivot to asia. the united states has joined japan and india in a week of naval exercises. the pentagon is taking pains to
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say that the exercise exercises are not aimed at any one particular country. but let's not kid ourselves. these moves send a contemplated message to china with regional power and territorial ambitions of its own on the high sees. there is quote navigation. the chinese are building artificial islands on reefs in the south china sea. a key choke point in southeast asia. they're being built on a chain known as the spratley islands. i'll show you better later on. 500 miles away from the chinese coast line. according to international law jurisdiction over territorial waters extend only the 12 naught tall miles from its shores. countries do have a right to claim resources like oil, gas, or fisheries as much as 350 miles off it's shores.
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this is the area that the philippines claim and the area claimed by vietnam. but this is the area that is claimed by china. marked here with the broken red lines and it extends much farther than the 350 miles. the u.s. fears that the china navy may use their island bases to disrupt global trade. they put the amount of bilateral trade passing through the south china sea as $5.3 trillion a year. one fifth of that involves direct trade with the united states. once more, allies in the area philippines and malaysia have their own claims on those same spratley islands. an challenge could quickly draw the usa into the fray. that's why the danger over the troubled waters continue to grow. for more mary snow has the sto
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story. >> on most satellite photos like this, the johnson south reef about the size of a football field showed up as just a submerged reef in the south china sea, not even an island. but this series of photos revealed that since 2013 china has dredged up millions of tons of rock and stand from the sea floor to create a brand new island. the speculation is that the island will supported a runway long enough for chinese military aircraft to take off and land on. >> this could be a real game change center the sense that it would allow china to project power to the china sea in a way that might threaten vietnam, malaysia and even the united states navy. >> they've been creating artificial islands. these satellite photos show, china has been engaged in a major reclamation project.
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since august of 2014 china has been building an even larger 9,850-foot long manmade island on fiery cross reef. according to a report, the new island at fiery cross would be capable of supporting a runway and a harbor t.v. enough to dock warships. a clear challenge to claims of other nations in the south china sees. covering 160 square miles the spratley islands are a group of hundreds of remote islands, reeves and sand bars claimed by the philippines, vietnam and china. vietnam and the philippines have their own tiny outposts in the spratley islands. some more no more than rusted out tankers that have run aground. the artificial islands that china is building in the spratley islands appears to forcing others to relinquishing
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their claims and possession. why the interest in these reaves? whatever country plants their flag on these reefs could control valuable resources. it may contain 11 billion barrels of barrel a oil and natural gas and with 10 million barrels of oil moving through the south china sea each day. >> anything that china does on those islands starts to threaten the united states perception of freedom of navigation. then it becomes a real issue between those two countries. then you get an overlap between the territorial disputes between the countries, the region, and the bigger global dispute about who will be the world's policeman. >> for now china seems intent on turning a deaf ear on the potential risk of confrontation with the u.s. and shows no signs
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of leaving it's newest island. >> how can we be sure that china is building these islands in the name of peace? i'll put that to a former chinese diplomat coming up.
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>> "inside story" takes you beyond the headlines, beyond the quick cuts, beyond the soundbites. we're giving you a deeper dive into the stories that are making our world what it is. >> chinese officials say that the country's island building project in the south china sea is for peaceful purposes and it's neighbors will benefit from it. that's according to a former
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diplomat who is now a senior fellow at the china institute of international studies a think tank affiliated with china's foreign affairs. he said that the u.s. should not interfere with china affairs. welcome. if china's reclamationroject is in everybody's interest, why are others not supporting china's claims there? >> because the truth is they occupy some of the islands owned by china. so clearly they do not support any moves taken by china on the islands in the south china sea. for china these islands belong to china. so china activity on the islands are legitimate.
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but of course to the contrary to the people in the philippines and vietnam, they have the opposite view. >> we're showing our viewers pictures of fiery cross reef right now. according to the british intelligence group me say that the runway there that we're looking at should be able to support all chinese military aircraft, the port facility should be able to support chinese surface combatant ships. tell me what your view is of what this development is. it looks military as opposed to civilian. >> yes, first of all. including the runaway and the port, mainly for civilian purposes. the support the fishing, seven and rescue, and at the same time they have the purposes of the
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complex situation in the south china sea china should limit defense capability there so that if sovereignty claims over the islands. >> the united states is saying that the islands are in international waters, and the u.s. is going to exercise freedom of navigation whenever they like. the chief of naval said that he doesn't see how anything that the u.s. is going to be doing there as provocative in any way. how does china see what america is doing in the area? >> my view--my view is that the united states is using this so-called freedom of navigation just as an excuse to get involved in the disputes in south china sea to try to
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interfere in the affairs of the south china sea. here is why. the united states is not a party to the disputes in the south china sea. and of course it has some interest in the freedom of navigation there. china has the biggest user of the islands in the south china sea, and more shipped over there in south china sea more than other countries. however, the freedom of navigation has not been--never been an issue in the south china sea. there is not an single incident that people can find harm to the freedom of navigation. they have the policy of the asia
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pacific. beginning in 2010 the united states use the south china seas as an entry point to get involved i in the affairs of southeast asia. the it uses this issue to interview in the affairs of south china sea. the so-called freedom of navigation operation if it takes place will be provocative to china. >> let's talk about the spratley islands. they're 500 miles from china's clothesline by 100 miles to hundred miles have vietnam. this is a breach of code of conduct signed by all the claimants. and the region is one of the most productive areas for
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commercial fishing and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. obviously who controls this is in a good position. it's one of the most desirable places in the sea to control. what is the justification of china making the claim? >> you know, the geographical distance does not determine the sovereignty of this island. and china has claims and sovereignty over the islands long over other countries laid claims to this islands. actually china enjoyed jurisdiction over the islands, and the china sea waters for centuries. in the early 1970s when there were reports of the discovery of oil and gas, then these countries including the philippines and vietnam, malaysia, began to claim the
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island at their own. actually, vietnam, the philippines, all these countri countries, they do not have any on just to china's sovereignty and claims over the islands before the 1970s. the official documents of vietnam recognize china's sovereignty. and the treaties between the united states, and did not include the islands of south china sea as the territory. >> well look, let me ask you this way. china's view is that the united states has been provocative and has this pivot to asia and should butt out of chinese affairs. on the other hand, america's allies in the region, the philippines and vietnam, they don't want to get into a battle about this, i mean literally a military confrontation with china because the u.s. will be
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involved either way. you make an eloquent argument as to why the spratley islands belong to china, there is some disagreement to this. how do they avoid military confrontation over this? >> there are two ways. produce a peaceful talent to the south china seas. there are two approaches. one is over the dispute of sovereignty. leave that to the ports of concern for bilateral diplomatic negotiations and talks. secondly, the peace and stability, let china and other countries in the southeast asia work together. actually the two sides. i mean, china and other nations
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has been working on this. they have the declaration and parties in the south china sea. now they're talking about the code of conduct for the south china sea. so they're working to make sure that all these countries will follow a peaceful settlement of the south china sea. but the united states, japan or other countries beyond the region, other parties. they should not interview with the dispute over the sovereignty. of course we have interests in the peace and stability in south china sea as china does. those countries beyond and outside of the region should not take any moves that may complicate the situation. >> always a pleasure to have you on the show. thank you for joining us. a former chinese diplomat and
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senior fellow at the china institute for studies. see why a lot of people in the tiny island nation are worried they're going to get a raw deal. that today they will be arrested. >> i know that i'm being surveilled. >> people are not getting the care that they need. >> this is a crime against humanity. >> hands up... >> don't shoot. >> hands up... >> don't shoot. >> what do we want? >> justice. >> when do we want it? >> now. >> explosions going on... we're not quite sure - >> is that an i.e.d.? >> "faultlines". al jazeera america's award-winning investigative series. monday, 10:00 eastern. on al jazeera america.
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>> we've been talking tonight about china's ambitious island building. it's important to note that not all of china's big expansion plans pan out. china's resort has netted nothing more than broken promises. we go to the bahamas for a first-hand look. [ music ] >> they marketed the bahamas as sun, sand and sea. tourism is the biggest thing we have here. >> a small single economy nation caught up in a gamble to bring in more visiters. >> i thought it was a good idea when it first started because foreign investment is something that i agree with. >> then the ambitious project has become the biggest issue facing the country. baja mar. an elite resort meant to beat
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all resorts. >> we market it as the home of the largest resort in the caribbean. it was going to go remarkable not only for the island but the entire country. >> but baja mar today sits unfinished. it's opening delay twice as chinese investors and a bahimaan investor battle. they accused their partner of failing to pay their fair share. bubutbut abou about abou bahamian side disputes that. >> they were supposed to open in december 2014, and they would have been responsible for 10% of the country's gdp. it's that big. this is a story of what can happen when a smal small
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country like bahamas does business with china. >> they hold the mortgage for that property. the chinese bank, which is owned by the chinese government. >> the opposition politician. >> this project was the plain child initially of the prime minister this was a project that the present administration defended on for employment. so a disappoint would be an understatement in my view. >> the bahamian leadership is under pressure. unemployment in the double digits. and baja mar would put thousands of people to work. >> the completion of the project and the opening of the resort would go a long way to aiding and assisting in the economy.
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>> now workers spend their days waiting. >> the average bus boy, housekeeper, house man, wai waitress. they're not going to get this opportunity again. obviously it has to happen. >> that is how bahamians feel, that the resort must open. just blocks away from baja mar shop keepers with their souvenirs have waited and waited for tourists to materialize. >> we need them open. to help with all of our expenses. we hope that when they hope more business comes along. >> it's delay has stirred growing resentment against the chinese and concern beyond that project. this is the colonial hilton, a
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landmark in downtown nassau recently purchased by a state own country. they plan to expand this property in a $250 million u.s. dollar project to some bahamian it feels as if china is buying up the country. >> we have nothing against the chinese investors who are coming in, but we would like to see others coming in as well. we think that there has to be some spreading of the risk, so to speak. >> the bahamian relations started with this stadium. it was a gift from the chinese, and the whole thing was built for free. but is there anything such a thing as a free lunch, or did this gift open the door for chinese investors and preferential treatment by the government. in the opening of baja mar the government has taken sides with the chinese against the local investor. al jazeera requested an
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interview with the prime minister. we never got a response. so we decided to just approach him. >> we were just wondering has chinese investments been good for the bahamas? >> you want to speak to me in my office? i'm told they can give you a proper response. >> we've e-mailed your office and there has been no response. >> there is no problem with my talking with you, but i just have a prior engagement. >> they never got back to us, but the minister of tourism did comment. >> we have investors from great britain. we have investors from the united states of america and investors from europe. invest freers asia. no one is buying up our country. that's not true. >> it's the grounds breaking ceremony from the expansion,
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they greet bahamian officials. [ music ] from a free stadium to baja mar, the largest overseas project by chinese construction. to this china has become the bahamas' closest partner for better or worse. china construction america turned down a request for an interview. but we thought we would try one more time. >> i just want to ask what you have to say for those who criticize china construction and blame china contrition for the delays of abou baja mar. >> this project is evidence of what we're doing here. so baja mar will be finished. and it will be soon. >> that was all he would say to us. >> i'm hoping that those who are responsible for improving thee investments will take this into consideration, that the country cannot handle another single
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investment the size of baja mar. it is a monstrosity of a structure. we cannot handle it. it's too large for a country our size to del with. >> bahamians have weathered tough economic years, and with baja mar people worry and wonder if the future can be as bright as their government pledges. >> melissa chan joins us now. we understand there is a november 2nd deadline to determine the future of baja mar. what do you know about it? >> let me back up a little bit and say a few weeks ago a judge in the bahamas appointed provisional liquidators. that judge is going to reconsider and decide whether he wants to move forward with full scale liquidation. now when we spoke to people in the about a ha baja mas and asked what it means, they were not really sure. it's important to keep in mind
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that 97% of the project is complete and they have just have 3% left. what the chamber of commerce says if you can get all the parties together and agree to an arbitration, it will be a much better solution than moving forward in a liquidation. >> they have many projects in latin america and the caribbean, and these projects are usually success stories. what went wrong here? >> very interesting, it's parent company is china state construction. that company is huge. they've worked on 70 or so major projects around the world. consider the possibility that two or three fail, and the bahamas might be one of them, that's a pretty good average. but the story from the baja mar side, the bahamian investors, they do accuse china con inves investors.
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that's where things get complicated. there is so much finger pointing no one really knows who is to blame. that's really one of the things that's part of the problem. >> thank you. melissa chen joining us. that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. defending itself against accusations of politicized work meant to harm a candidate. the candidate. hillary clinton, needing a strong day on the stand to relieve the burdens of benghazi and associated matters in


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