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Taiwans new president is sworn in

Taiwans new president is sworn inTsai Ing-wen, a cat-loving academic and former head of the Democratic Progressive Party, was sworn in as Taiwans first female president on May, 20 in a ceremony that celebrated the islands youth and diversity. She also spoke pointedly about the need to protect the countrys democracy, and strengthen relationships with other countrys besides China.

Tsais ascendancy comes after she won Taiwans presidential elections in January in a landslide, earning 56% of all votes, amid mass disillusionment with the opposing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Under former President Ma, the party failed to revive the flagging economy, and its explicit support of unification with China alienated the islands youth.

Tsais Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was formed in the 1980s as opposition grew to the KMT. Many party members support complete independence from mainland China. Beijing, meanwhile, views Taiwan as one of its provinces, even though the island has governed itself and held independent elections for decades.

Tsai devoted most of her acceptance speech to the need to revive Taiwans economy. But she didnt shy from of addressing cross-strait policy and Taiwans relationship with Beijing. In her speech, Tsai referred to Taiwan as a country 24 times, which is sure to anger Beijing.

Tellingly, she referred to the so-called 1992 consensusan agreement between Taipei and Beijing that there is one China, without agreeing on a definitionas meetings rather than a consensus. This careful choice in vocabulary strays from Beijings view on the two regions current relationship.

The relationship between China and Taiwan must respect historical and political realities, including the existence of ROC and its democracy, she said.

Taiwan must reduce its dependence on China for economic development she said.We will walk away from the time when our economy is overly reliant on one single country, she said, and increase relationships in Southeast Asia and India. She closed her speech with:

Dear fellow citizens, dear 23 million people of Taiwan: the wait is over. Today is the day. Today, tomorrow, and every day to come, we shall all vow to be a Taiwanese who safeguards democracy, freedom, and this country.

Since the January elections Beijing has acknowledged Tsais ascendancy with reluctance.

Chinas Ministry of Propaganda issued directives to media outlets forbidding reports of Tsais inauguration that are not written by official state media outlets. Xinhua, Peoples Daily, Global Times, and China Dailyfour government mouthpiece papersdid not immediately publish reports or editorials about Tsais swearing-in on Friday.

Source: Quartz
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