Tsai Ing-Wen has been sworn in as Taiwan’s new president, becoming the country’s first female leader. She led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a resounding election victory in January, reportedly marking only the second time ever that the DPP has managed to win an election — the rival Kuomintang party had been in power for most of the past 70 years.
Tsai called for “positive dialogue” with Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, but emphasized that the Taiwanese people were “committed to the defence of our freedom and democracy as a way of life.” Beijing had insisted that she recognize that Taiwan was a part of China, per an agreement reached by both sides in 1992. Tsai, however, refused to do so, saying only that she recognized that such an agreement had been made with a prior pro-China government.
Tsai’s inauguration made headlines in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but mainstream Chinese media appeared to largely ignore the event. Mainland Chinese state papers had published commentaries before the inauguration, saying that the occasion would mark the beginning of a “period of uncertainty” in Taiwan-China relations.
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