our top story. north korea says it's working on a detailed plan to launch four missiles towards the island of guam. state media in north korea say the plan will be presented to kimjong—un by mid august and he will decide whether to proceed. several thousand us troops are stationed on the island. the new threat comes despite a warning from the us defence secretary that north korea's cannot win an arms race with the us. he also warned that pyonyang's actions could result in the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. and this video is trending on bbc.com. nine magellanic penguins have just been released back into the sea, after being rescued and rehabilitated by a team of specialists in argentina. they've been nursed back to health, after suffering from malnutrition. the mundo marino centre, which has been feeding them up, has rescued more than 2,500 penguins. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news.
welcome to hardtalk with me, zeinab badawi. what is going on in poland? injuly, the european union began legal action against the polish government, over controversial proposed reforms, that critics say will politicise the legal system. it's threatening to withdraw funding and suspend poland's voting rights in eu. my guest today is the polish foreign minister witold waszczykowski. it is poland, that was a country held up as a model of post—soviet transition, turning away from liberal democracy? and what does this mean for its people and its place in europe and the world? foreign minister witold waszczykowski, in warsaw,
welcome to hardtalk. 20 months ago, your law and justice party won the elections, now it is facing a lot of criticisms. what has gone wrong? i don't think anything is wrong in poland. we are running the country for the last 21 months. we've got a very strong democratic mandate from our people in poland. and we are trying still to modernise the country, develop the country, and, of course, to stay in the european union and in nato and implement all the decisions of these institutions, also here in poland. after the fall of the soviet union, poland was seen as a bastion of liberal democracy. we had lech walesa, leader
of the solidarity movement — he became president and won the nobel peace prize. the world bank heaped praise on poland for making the most successful transition from communism to democracy. and now look — you are getting criticisms from abroad, and also internally, for being too authoritarian and liberal. we are still a democratic country, and we want to continue our democratic process. but we want democracy without any objectives. i live long enough, so i had to live in a democracy with objectives, like a socialist democracy. we are living next to the country that is trying to create a sovereign democracy, and you're right, for some years, some people try to create other democracies, liberal democracies, and that exclude some ideas, some concepts. we just want to stay on a democratic course and to be a democratic country without objectives. we continue the transformation of the country. the country is developing at a high speed right now, about 4% growth per year. and all democratic institutions are preserved and kept by our institution, and by our government and by our parliament.
so those accusations about authoritarianism are wrong. in may, there were tens of thousands of people protesting on the streets of warsaw about what they say are curbs on democracy. critics claim that you are introducing reforms in thejudiciary which would compromise the independence of the courts, and give too much power to thejustice minister, who is also the prosecutor general. yes, you are right that tens of thousands of protesters were protesting on the streets. but millions of poles did not protest, and our party and our we government, is supported by 30% of the population in poland. we have a clear mandate to transform and democratise the judicial system, which was left untouched for 28 years, since the communist times. so i think that this is a judgement of the —
of opposition — of the domestic opposition, here in poland, who find it difficult to accept the verdict of the election which happened almost two years ago. they are using this as a pretext, as an excuse just to judge incorrectly our government. but may i put it to you that even the president, andrzej duda, a former member of your party, wants these proposals amended, because he says giving thejustice minister the power to name, appoint and dismiss members of the judiciary is not democratic. so even the president is critical. 0k.
he has a right, he has a prerogative as the president to be part of this discussion. we accepted the veto — two vetoes — and the discussion is going back to the parliament and we will get together with parliamentarians to find a solution for this problem. but even the president, as you mentioned, is critical about the contemporary situation of thejudiciary system. so we have to continue the transformation of the system, but maybe the better way. everything is going back to the parliament to find a better solution for the parliament, to the wrong judiciary system which is now in poland. you have also angered the european union. the european commission has announced legal action against the polish government. and it's citing acute concern about the independence of the polish courts, which it says
will be undermined. so what are you going to do about that? because you've been invited for talks with the european commission. are you going to discuss and amend the proposals, water them down? what is going to happen? yes, we engaged in a dialogue with the commission. we are patient, and patiently, we are trying to discuss and inform the commission about the process. the process is going on, as you mentioned, even some legal action of the parliament was stopped by the president. so this is absolutely no time for the commission to interfere in this process. because there is no final solution to this proposed judiciary reform. i don't see any legal excuse for the commission to be engaged right now. we will of course exchange letters and opinions with people like mr timmermans and others who raised concerns,
but i don't see the reason, right now, for the commission to act and interfere in reforms and transformation of the system in poland. 0k. but could you clarify, then, foreign minister, so the polish government will have talks with the european commission, but you say "we're not going to listen to any suggestions, or any advice, or your views at all." you will will talk to them but won't listen at all? we will listen but i think that the commission is wrongly evaluating our situation. we are engaged in a dialogue. we are engaged in the exchange of correspondence. just a few days go, i sent a letter to mr timmermans, informing him about the situation, and asking him about additional
clarification of his accusation against polish reforms. i keep reminding him and others that the process is not finished — it's ongoing. it's going back to the parliament. we don't see any reason why it the commission should interfere right now. all right. you are also being criticised for other reforms that are seen as falling short of european union values. last year, there was a controversial law approved to allow the goverment to appoint the heads of public television and radio. and again, eu commissioner gunther oettinger has accused poland of threatening common european values. as you rightly mentioned, the threat as you rightly mentioned, this is public television and public radio. this is owned by state owned institutions. so we just are using our prerogatives as a state to nominate the chiefs of these institutions. the situation is in european union
countries, and we are not touching the private media, or interfering in private tv or radio or newspapers, but those media who — those who belong to the states, of course they are ruled by the state—owned institutions. and this is a prerogative of the state to nominate the chiefs of these institutions. just like in other countries, like in other member states of the european union. but they're not attracting the criticisms that you are now. imean, for example, it's notjust the european union. the council of europe, which is not part of the eu, their human rights commissioner, nils muiznieks, is critical of poland placing its public service media under direct government control by letting the goverment appoint and dismiss these boards. so whatever you are doing, it is not quite the same as other european union countries. you go beyond by having this direct government control, aren't you? i can only repeat what i said.
i'm not the expert on this. i am the foreign minister. so i prefer to engage in the foreign policy of poland, which is also important for the european union and the future of the european union. but once again, i can only repeat what i heard from the experts — that we are repeating and copying the solutions which exist everywhere in many countries of the european union. all right. one thing that you do look at is this issue of refugees. and injune, the european commission, again, launched an eu law infringement procedure against poland, because you're refusing to take in refugees, as part of an eu—wide quota system. why should poland be exempt from this? we disagree with the commission about the mechanics of so—called relocation, because it's — decisions are taken against international treaties, european treaties, against international
and european law. it's euphemistic to say "relocation" because, in fact, this is resettlement by force of people who do not want to be resettled to a country like poland. so we disagree with the commission. the second problem is that we do already have a large number of migrants coming from the eastern part of europe. 0nly last year, we issued more than 1,200,000 visas for the ukrainians. about half a million for belarusians. a majority of them chose to stay in poland. these are also migrants. i don't know why they are coming from the middle east and north africa, why they are supposed to be better evaluated, and supposed to be better taken care of by the institutions, european instutions, than the migrants coming from, also touched by war, ukraine. so we are a country which is open for migration, but we disagree with the mechanics of taking decisions about migrants and refugees. 0k.
so, basically, poland does not want to take any migrants and refugees from the middle east and africa, and the criticism there is that because poland is a very homogeneous country — with only 0.4% of your population of a0 million is made up of foreigners — 9i% of the population is roman catholic. and that therefore you don't want muslim migrants. i'll give you an example of what the deputy prime minister said last year. "poland shouldn't accept muslim migrants to prevent polish babies being blown up." is that what people don't like about poland ? these ideas exist in the polish population.
more than 75% of poles do not want to accept this relocation by force of the migrants from north africa and the middle east. but we tried to implement the decisions of the commission from september 2015, and many months ago, we sent our border guards to the camps in italy and greece, we sent also security officers. firstly we tried to identify some of these people. and, of course, the majority of them is very difficult to identify them — they do not have documents, and this is a threat for the security of the country. of course, nobody from these migrants, these refugees, we prefer to see migrants, had any inclination to emigrate to poland. 0k.
you made that point. so we cannot accept the situation. 0k. let me finish. this progressive european union is deciding by relocation by force people who do not want be relocated to a country like poland. well, i put it to you that that is your position, but it is a sentiment that underscores what you have just said that makes people unhappy about the comments that are coming from official poland, for example, the chairman of the ruling party, said in april last year why he did want refugees... "these people bringing diseases, parasites, bacteria, they don't affect them, but affect us." is that kind of comment acceptable, do you think? once again, i can only repeat that 75% of the polish population is accepting the policing of the government, not to accept the decision of the eu to resettle by force people from africa and the middle east. we don't want to commit suicide as a politician and a government, to go against the public would do that. the accusation as spokesperson for the catholic bishops,
who are urging poland to receive refugees, says that fears have been fuelled by some political parties. according to the never again an organisation which tracks racist attacks in poland, they say they have increased considerably in the last year and that there is a correlation between hate speech of the political class and those assaults. so, there is a link. i put it to you one more time, are you happy with the state of affairs? no, of course we are not happy. we have discussed this issue and the problem of migrants
during the visit last year of pope francis. he was visiting us, he gave a speech in krakow and he mentioned that there are many ways to support, help and assist refugees and migrants. he did not mention that poland was supposed to accept thousands of people from syria and the middle east. he had the chance to visit the vatican many times and discuss with the hierarchy that situation. we all understand that we at first supposed to start assisting people in the region of middle east, north africa. first we engage with the european to help find them peace, a peaceful solution for the war.
that has been going on already for seven years in syria. we are supposed to control the borders of the eu. we are supposed to help them relocate in europe on a voluntary basis. those countries who have the ability to accept these migrants may accept them, those who want to emigrate to the country are supposed to emigrate. we cannot accept in the 21st century resettlement by force. once again, we are accepting millions of migrants coming from ukraine and belarus. poland is finding these people in poland. you made that point, thank you. all these things we have been discussing have drawn a lot of criticism from the eu of poland. poland is the biggest recipient of eu funding. in 2015, you received 13.4 billion euros in funding. you can't afford to fall out with the eu, can you? this funding, these structured funds and subsidies which are part
of the agreement between member states, they are derived from the treaties. these funds have nothing to do with the behaviour of the country. this is compensation for the opening of the economic system, for the opening of the economy, the market, the investment, for the deals with other economies, stronger economies of the western eu. it's nothing to do with... it is not a reward for us for being liberal or anti—liberal. i reject this accusation that we are supposed to give up receiving these funds because we are not behaving correctly, according to some wishes. who do you think is making... can i ask you, who is making that accusation? i mean, i'll give you an example.
the german vice chancellor says, those countries that do not share a german values should not count on german financial help. germany is the biggest contributor, by far, to the eu's funding. are you saying that poland is not at risk of a withdrawal of eu funding? we cannot combine the situation of migrants or european values to the economic operation, because structural funds, this is a reward for the opening of the economy, for the weaker economy, for cooperation with a stronger economy of the western european economy. it has to do with the population, with the economy, but not with migrants. this is not a reward for accepting migrants. another thing that is creating some concern, injanuary of this year, the united states deployed troops on polish soil for the first time since the fall of the soviet union. germany in particular is concerned
about nato exercises in poland and the baltics. and increasing tensions with russia. this is something that deeply worries the russians. are you not concerned about worsening ties with moscow? we are concerned already, for at least three years, by the behaviour of russia. let me remind you that russia initiated a rebellion on donbass and have acted in regards to crimea. there are incidences on the baltic sea and the black sea. some years ago, russia initiated aggression against georgia. so, reacting to this russian policing, nato decided to build a special unit to support the security of the eastern
area of nato. last year in warsaw, nato decided to deploy extra troops. a somewhat tenuously decided, the united states decided to send a whole brigade. nato are correctly reacting to the acts of russia. nato is defending and deterring, but also trying to keep a dialogue with russia. we support this dialogue. i have to put to you... we sent deputy ministers to moscow for dialogue. we then sent another deputy to moscow. we are reacting positively, but we do not have a positive answer from the other side. finally, are you enjoying
being foreign minister of poland at this rather difficult time, when you are getting all these criticisms we have been discussing on this hardtalk? i can repeat what i started in the beginning, which i did not finish is successfully because you prevented me to tell you, for the very first time, we have clearly defined our foreign goals and targets and policy. we have clearly defined our interest. this interest is to implement, using the membership of the eu and of nato. some of these interests do not coincide with the others, the other members of this institution. we have a discussion, a live debate with this. this is a decision or an action
of the commission, it is only a smokescreen. there are real problems of security, energy, with the common market in europe after brexit. decisions about smart protectionist, which is suggested by some other western politicians. we prefer to discuss, and i engage in discussion with my colleagues about these issues. but not directly with that conversation. this is an excuse to deprive poland of our position and to weaken our position in the future, and in the budget of the european union possibly. i have to phrase the fact that this is not an easyjob, but so far, successful.
foreign minister witold waszczykowski in warsaw, thank you very much for coming on hardtalk. thank you. hello there. much of the country was fine and dry, with some good, sunny spells on wednesday. but it was atrocious across the south—east, cold and wet, like this weather watcher behind me depicts of central london. the rain has been slowly petering out, and as we start thursday morning with largely clear skies and light winds, it is going to be a chilly one. temperatures out of town in single figures, widely, across the uk.
maybe a little bit of mist and fog in places, too. that is because we've got a ridge of high pressure which will keep things largely fine and settled for thursday, this weather front which brought all the rain across the south—east on wednesday slowly clearing away. we've also got another weather system slowly approaching the far north—west of the uk. so that will introduce a little bit of thicker cloud, and also a few spots of light rain across the far north and north—west of scotland. but, away from here, for much of scotland it is going to be a dry and fine morning with some sunshine. same too for northern ireland, temperatures around ten to 13 degrees to start the day, just one or two showers, some sunshine there in across kent, and quite a strong northerly breeze, too, which will gradually ease down through the day. apart from a few heavy showers for kent, in the very far south—east for england and wales,
most places fine dry. lots of sunshine around. the south—east, a little bit of cloud. just one or two showers there in across kent, and quite a strong northerly breeze, too, which will gradually ease down through the day. apart from a few heavy showers for kent, most places will be dry for the afternoon, as scotland. so a good—looking day for the world championships athletics in london stadium. it is going to be dry with some sunshine, temperatures around 21 or 22 degrees. now, a fine end to the day as well for thursday, as well for wales, it is going to be another largely clear night, with light winds, so here not quite as cool. but, for scotland and northern ireland, we will have an approaching weather system, so here turning wet and windy through the night. here, not quite as cool. so for friday, then, we have got this weather system across northern and western areas. a nice, fine start, though, for central, southern and eastern parts of england. but even here, conditions will go downhill during the course of the day. so the rain will be heavy across western scotland and north—west england.
northern and western wales, it will slowly move its way eastwards, eventually reaching the south—east later on. top temperature 16 to 22 celsius again across the south—east. looks like friday night could be quite a wet and blustery one, as those weather systems clear away. as we head on towards the weekend, a big ridge of high pressure builds so it does mean for both saturday and sunday we are looking at fine and dry weather. a little bit of cloud here and there, but some good sunny spells. fairly cool, though, at night. i'm rico hizon in singapore, the headlines: north korea issues a new threat to guam, promising to decide within the next few days whether to launch four missiles towards the tiny pacific island. the us defence secretary warns north korea to avoid actions that could result in the destruction of its people. i'm babita sharma in london.
also in the programme: australia's bitter political battle over legalising gay marriage comes to a head as the government pushes on with a postal vote. and the rise of mixed martial arts in asia. rolando dy talks to us about his quest to reach the top. i'm a filipino fighter, you don't underestimate a filipino fighter. i wa nt to underestimate a filipino fighter. i want to fight for the belt, i want to fight the best.