Lai Ching-te inaugurated as president of Taiwan in a tense climate with China

Lai Ching-te inaugurated as president of Taiwan in a tense climate with China
Lai Ching-te inaugurated as president of Taiwan in a tense climate with China

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as president of Taiwan on Monday for a four-year term that begins in a climate of tension, while China considers him a “separatist” and the opposition intends to put him in difficulty in a parliament split in two.

He takes over from Tsai Ing-wen, of whom he was vice-president and who could not run in the presidential election last January due to term limits.

According to a senior Taiwanese representative familiar with the matter, Lai Ching-te will express his goodwill towards China during his inaugural speech.

China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, has never ruled out using force to bring the island back into its fold and takes a dim view of the electoral victory of Lai Ching-te, pro-independence like the former. was Tsai Ing-wen.

Lai Ching-te, who considers that the Taiwanese people are the sole decision-makers of their future, has proposed a dialogue with China in the past, in vain.

Beijing has continued to increase its pressure on Taiwan since the election of Lai Ching-te last January, conducting air and maritime military exercises near the island.

Former American representatives, sent by President Joe Biden, attended the inauguration ceremony, as well as parliamentarians from different countries including Japan, Germany and Canada. Also present were leaders of the 12 countries with official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, such as Paraguayan President Santiago Pena.

Via its Taiwan Affairs office, China said last week that Lai Ching-te, presented as the island’s “new regional leader”, must clearly choose between peaceful development or confrontation.

The challenges he will face are not only linked to China; he will have to cope without a parliamentary majority, while his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was beaten by the opposition during the legislative elections organized simultaneously with the presidential election.

(Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; French version Jean Terzian)

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