glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. russian president vladimir putin has suspended all flights to egypt. he's trying to keep citizens safe following the deadly airliner crash in the sinai peninsula. the head of russia's fsb security service had recommended stopping flights for the time being. he said that would be appropriate until officials know the cause of the crash in egypt. russian officials appear to be keeping an open mind on what happened. british and u.s. leaders say they believe the plane may have been brought down by a bomb. chinese president xi jinping and his taiwanese counterpart ma ying-jeou will be marking a new page in history when they meet in singapore on saturday.
nhk world's estella mack has more. >> reporter: the summit will be the first since taiwan and mainland china split 66 years ago following the civil war. relations were hostile for a long time. but in 1993, the heads of the private liaison offices from both sides got together for the first time in singapore. the situation started to improve in 2008 with ma's election as president. there was a breakthrough last year when two sides held their first ministerial meeting in china. >> translator: we're going to meet in a place other than taiwan or china. this is an historic first for us. it shows that our relations have matured. >> reporter: ma describes his
talks with xi has an historic milestone. he says the dialogue will be aimed at maintaining peace and stability, and it's unrelated to taiwan's upcoming presidential election. some regional experts disagree. they say the meeting has been timed with the january election firmly in mind. ma's ruling nationalist party is polling badly. >> president ma has tried to hold the summit meeting with president xi jinping for at least two years. and the mainland china has rejected president ma's proposal for many times. president xi jinping thinks that the nationalist party's election campaign is very, very bad. so he has to boost the campaign. >> reporter: ma wants his meeting with xi to be seen with both sides on an equal footing, representing his government's
ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with mainland china. professor matsuda explains an arrangement president ma has already reached with china provides a framework for relations. >> there's a consensus between china and taiwan and the ma administration which is called 1992 consensus. and this consensus relates one china. both the mainland china and taiwan belong to one china. if both leaders stress too much about one china, too much about taiwan is a part of china, then the backlash may become very big. >> reporter: professor matsuda says ma's priority is to establish his historical legacy in talks that could set the tone for future relations. nhk world's naoki makita in
beijing explains what the chinese government is hoping to get out of the meeting. >> china is trying to emphasize the communist party values peaceful dialogue. it wants to show the international community it's working to ease tensions in the region. at the same time, beijing is trying to avoid an impression that its relationship with taiwan is that of two separate countries. taiwan had asked china to hold summit talks on the sidelines of regional apex meetings in beijing but china rejected the suggestions. it shows the leadership didn't want a summit with taiwan at a major international conference. the two sides eventually agreed to meet during chinese president xi jinping's official visit to singapore. china is showing respect for china's wish to hold the meeting on equal footing. it's likely part of beijing's
plan to showcase the historic summit as a breakthrough in cross-straight relations. the taiwanese economy is becoming increasingly dependent on china to the extent it may not be able to survive without that market access. beijing's message is that a stable relationship based on the one-china principle is beneficial for taiwan's economic growth. taiwan's president ma ying-jeou leads the party which supports the nationalist party which supports ties with china. the chinese communist party hasn't ruled out the possibility of taiwan's opposition to the progressive party winning the next election. the dpp doesn't acknowledge the one china principle that serves as a current framework for relations. china wants to affirm the relationship it has with taiwan by holding a summit before the election. this could pave the way for better communications between the two sides even if the opposition sweeps to power. many taiwanese are worried about china's intentions and fear annexation.
whether xi can lower taiwan's guard will be one of the focal points of the summit. an historic general election will take place sunday in myanmar. it's the first major test for the country's fledgling democracy. the result could see the military backed government's hold on power challenged by the opposition national league for democracy led by aung san suu kyi. friday was the last day of campaigning. nhk world's patchari raksawong reports from yangon. >> hello from myanmar where the most significant democratic event in at least 25 years takes place on sunday. whatever the outcome, it will be a milestone occasion. the first basically free general election since the military handed power to a civilian-fronted government. here in the commercial capital yangon, the major parties have been wrapping up their official campaigns.
i'm in a suburb of yangon where last-minute campaigning by the ruling usdp party is in full swing. supporters of the ruling union solidarity and development party, or usdp, often wear the party's signature color green. >> why are you supporting the usdp party? >> translator: because we love president thein sein. usdp policies have improved ordinary people's lives. >> reporter: over at an opposition event for aung san suu kyi, nld supporters were already packing up. >> translator: we've ended our campaign today because the nld has a real chance of winning. >> reporter: the general public, like those here at this typical tea shop, are very interested in the first free general election in 25 years. and they stay updated by using
smartphones. a mobile application allows people to check the profiles of parties and candidates and offers them advice on how to vote without spoiling their ballot. >> translator: it's a useful way to check information about the upcoming election. we use our smartphones almost daily for that. >> reporter: this 20-year-old was the app's main programmer. young people like him who have never voted before are taking interest in the democratic process. >> translator: we're glad to hear many voters are using our application. we want people to know how important their vote is and how to avoid making it ineligible. >> reporter: but many people are skeptical the vote will be fair.
one election watchdog ngo plans to post observers at about 1,000 polling stations. >> translator: what i don't want to see is elections becoming chaos and nobody accept the result. that is not good for everybody. so that is -- i hope does not happen. >> the election campaign has been fierce between the ruling union solidarity and development party and the opposition national league for democracy. the former has its roots in the military while the latter is headed by democracy activist aung san suu kyi. the structure of the legislature means she faces an uphill struggle to take power. myanmar's federal parliament has 664 seats in its upper and lower houses. one-fourth of the seats, or 166, are reserved for military. only the remaining 498 seats are up for grabs.
a party needs a majority of votes in parliament to name a president, and so the nld must win at least two-thirds of the contested seats in order to seize power. nhk world's thi ha thwe has been following the campaigns and we'll be speaking with him in just a minute. first, here's his report. >> reporter: in urban parts of myanmar, such as here in the largest city yangon, the overwhelming popularity of the nld is clear at rallies like this one. a pop musician and rap musician take the stage to ask for voices of support. ♪ >> reporter: the party's leader aung san suu kyi focused her campaign on rural areas. criss-crossing the country and giving speeches. over and over again she uttered the nld campaign's keyword, "change."
>> translator: the upcoming election is a big chance to change the country. some people are afraid of change. but it's not possible to survive without change. >> reporter: aung san suu kyi has tried to talk with voters at every opportunity. on this day, some of them voiced concerns about their safety on election day. >> translator: government employees like us are worried if the secrecy of the vote is really guaranteed. >> translator: do not be afraid. the confidentiality of your vote will be kept. high-ranking government officials don't have the right to threaten you. we have to participate to bring change.
please be brave just for one day on the election day. >> reporter: the ruling party held a rally of its own in the capital. ♪ ♪ almost all of the candidates on stage were former military officials. their position has not changed. but they highlighted the achievements since transitioning to the civilian-led government four years ago. >> translator: president thein sein, the leader of our party, is the one who led the nation to a change toward democracy. what you need now is a government that is capable of maintaining peace and stability.
please convince people around you. >> reporter: many people were seen leaving the venue in the middle of the row. naypyidaw is set to be a strong force of the ruling party but even here, the usdp's campaign seems to lack momentum. the opposition has been leading the race, but some potential threats have emerged. ten days before the vote, an nld candidate and two supporters were attacked in yangon by men armed with knives. the candidates suffered serious injuries. many nld members are concerned about whether the election will really be free and fair. in the latter half of the campaign, the party held fewer rallies and toned down its rhetoric to prevent provoking by the ruling powers. instead, it went door-to-door
asking voters for their support. as election day nears, anticipation and excitement are occasionally tinted with the fear of what happens next. the moment when the people of myanmar will choose between change and stability is approaching. >> thi ha thwe is with us now. it looks like the opposition nld is leading the race. is this an accurate assessment? >> it's almost certain that the nld led by aung san suu kyi will dramatically increase its seats in the election. the governing usdp says that voters showing achievement over the four years often comes across as self-serving. many people in myanmar still view the usdp harshly because of the economic problems they suffer.
it might struggle to win 30% of seats but that doesn't automatically mean it will lose power. because a quarter of the seats in the parliament are reserved for the military. some experts predict the usdp could hold on to to power even with a relatively small share of the vote. >> the attack on the nld candidate was the first violent incident since the election campaign started. it seems that various concerns are growing. >> the attack was by no means the only problem. at one point, there were questions about whether the vote will happen at all. the election commission sat down and suggested postponing it. in the end, that didn't happen. but on thursday, aung san suu kyi said the nld -- about the party's individuals breaking the rules but she said the commission did nothing. the head of the commission is a
former high-ranking military official. he used to be known as the right-hand man of the former military government. >> if the usdp is struggling to win popular support, as you just mentioned, does the nld believe it has a real chance of taking power? >> in 1990, the nld won a landslide election victory before the military nullified the results. it seems unlikely it will happen again. but they are concerned if their margin of victory is narrow, the election commission could disqualify some of their candidates and allow the usdp to hold onto power. >> thank you so very much. as election day nears, it seems hard not to reference what happened 25 years ago. overwhelmingly, the feeling among voters on sunday will be one of hope that this historic
election will be one step forward in myanmar's democratization. it's no exaggeration to say people around the world are watching with anticipation. i'm patchari raksawong reporting from yangon. u.s. defense secretary ash carter has gone on board a u.s. aircraft carrier sailing the contested waters of the south china sea. the visit came a week after a u.s. destroyer patrolled near an artificial island being built by china. nhk world's kurando tago has the details. >> reporter: carter told those aboard the "uss theodore roosevelt" there's a lot of concern about chinese behavior in the region. the captain of the "uss lassen" which sailed close to the disputed subi reef, also spoke to media on the aircraft carrier. he said his vessel had been shadowed by a chinese destroyer
for about ten days before approaching the reef. chinese workers have been building artificial islands in the spratly chain for more than a year. satellite imagery shows a nearly complete runway on the fiery cross reef and workers appear to be building two more runways on other reefs in the chain. china has imposed a 12-nautical-mile territorial limit around the artificial islands. international law says any nation can claim the limit from its coast as sovereign territory, but that does not apply to artificial islands. the u.s. had been studying the possibility of deploying naval vessels to the region to conduct freedom of navigation operations. >> the united states will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world. and the south china sea is not and will not be an exception. >> reporter: the issue was one
of the main topics of discussion at a meeting between u.s. president barack obama and chinese president xi jinping in september. but the two made little progress. by sending a naval destroyer to the region, the u.s. appears to be challenging beijing's claim to the territory. chinese officials condemn u.s. plans to continue sailing more warships through the area. >> translator: china will firmly oppose any attempt to infringe on our sovereignty in the name of freedom of navigation or air space. >> reporter: the spokesperson said china is determined to defend what she called its legitimate interests at sea. defense ministers from the association of southeast asian nations plus china, japan, the united states and other countries held meetings on the issue in kuala lumpur. but they did not issue their expected joint declaration, unable to agree on how to address the south china sea issue. a u.s. government official told nhk that last week's operation was routine and lawful. he said the commanders plan to
conduct patrols near the artificial islands in the south china sea a few times every three months. kurando tago, nhk world. one of the parties to the south china sea dispute is stepping up defense cooperation with japan. vietnamese defense minister phung quang thanh welcomed has japanese counterpart jin nakatani. they agreed the matter should be settled peacefully and no party should threaten regional stability by unilaterally trying to change the status quo. the ministers agreed to have their forces work together more closely. japanese self-defense force ships will start calling next year at a vietnamese base on the south china sea, and the two countries will hold their first joint maritime exercise. members of a united nations disarmament committee have highlighted the divide between nuclear and non-nuclear nations. they adopted a resolution to
speed up intergovernmental negotiations toward abolishing such weapons worldwide. the resolution calls for a working group meeting next year to discuss the necessary legal measures. representatives from 135 countries voted in favor. those from 12 countries, including the u.s. and russia, opposed. japan was among 33 that abstained. they say disarmament should be achieved through cooperation between nuclear and non-nuclear powers. non-nuclear countries want the meeting to be a stepping stone to a total ban, but nuclear-armed countries could boycott the working group's session. they think a ban does not consider their national security. in other news, japan's emperor and empress will visit the philippines. they'll celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and they'll honor the memories of people killed in world war ii. emperor akihito and the empress plan to visit a cenotaph.
built by the japanese government. they want to pay their respects to more than 500,000 war dead, including those from japan. they may also visit a tomb dedicated to fallen filipinos. the imperial couple will get a formal welcome and talk with president benigno aquino. they'll likely spread their visit over four days at the end of january. they first went to the philippines in 1962 as crown prince and princess. they'll be visiting as emperor and empress for the first time. music videos may now be very much the norm, but at one time they were considered almost revolutionary. not surprising, one of the first bands to integrate music and images in the 1960s was none other than the beatles.
nhk world's tomoko kurabayashi reports. >> reporter: this was the scene at a music show in central tokyo early friday morning. the reason for the excitement was the first ever collection of beatles music videos was being released ahead of the rest of the world. the collection contains film footage of the beatles that's been digitally enhanced using the latest technology. the reason the beatles produced music videos before other artists did was because they wanted their fans around the world to see the performances fromme on tour. this was the video that's went on sale. >> translator: i'm dying to watch it! i won't be able to sleep tonight. >> translator: the beatles were the first western music group i've heard. i think i know all their songs. >> reporter: by the mid-1960s, the fab four were already the
biggest band in the world. by the time they arrived in japan in 1966, the country was firmly in the grips of beatle mania, but not everyone was happy. broadcaster peter barakan is an expert in japanese and international music. he says some japanese disapproved of the beatles. >> when people tried to go to the beatles concert, they were actually schoolteachers or representatives of the local board of education standing around the hall, and if they spotted kids that they knew, they would try to stop them from going to the concert because that would make them delinquents. >> reporter: the beatles may have given birth to the culture of music videos, but the medium really took off in the 1980s. with the spread of the internet and smartphones, people can now make their own music easily and upload it to the internet. peter says younger japanese are likely to listen to homegrown tunes more than the older generation of japanese.
>> the whole country has opened up to some extent globalized as well. on the cultural side, you have hear practically no non-japanese music. this younger generation of kids probably don't know any western music. it's perhaps a good way to get into it. if they like this, perhaps they'll be encouraged to buy any of the other great beatles albums. >> reporter: the beatles disbanded about half a century ago, but their popularity hasn't waned with the passage of time. to this day, their music continues to inspire fans around the world. tomoko kurabayashi, nhk world. there's more to come on "newsline." first, here's a three-day outlook on the weather around the globe.
japan has taken one of life's first big steps. the twins ouhin and touhin, have been weaned from their mother, and they've been moved to another part of the zoo in wakayama prefecture. >> translator: i've never seen twin panda cubs. >> translator: they're really cute. i want them to grow up big and healthy. >> and they are growing big. they each weigh about 28 kilograms, about 150 times their birth weight. they can now gnaw on bamboo because they have permanent teeth. next month the cubs will turn 1 year old. and that's all for now on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. from all of us at nhk world, thanks for watching, and have a good day wherever you are.
>> for some, it's an idle pastime. for others, it is literally a matter of life and death. find out what's put bangladeshi bloggers on the frontline of the country's fight against islamic extremists. that's coming up here, on "global 3000." hello, and welcome to the show. brave bloggers -- bangladeshi cybernauts who refuse to be silenced by islamic extremists mexico online -- why internet access and social mobility go hand in hand and protecting the caribbean -- the race is on to save fragile marico