“Troublemaker” Lai Ching-te takes the reins of Taiwan beneath shut scrutiny from Beijing | EUROtoday

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Taiwan will inaugurate a brand new chief this Monday after the inauguration ceremony of William Lai Ching-te, a 64-year-old physician. The winner of final January's elections will lead a third consecutive time period for the Democratic Progressive Party (PDP), the formation that has embraced the island's democracy as the nice bulwark in opposition to the menace from China.

Lai takes the baton from the outgoing president, Tsai Ing-wen, promising a steady overseas coverage targeted on resisting, beneath the mantra of defending freedoms, navy strain from Beijing. For this objective, it is going to be key to proceed strengthening ties with the nice ally, the United States, the principle worldwide supporter and important provider of weapons to a nation whose sovereignty is just acknowledged by 12 international locations.

In China, officers of the ruling Communist Party (CCP) publicly outline Lai as an “independence troublemaker” as a result of they don’t neglect some statements that the brand new president made when he was a deputy, presenting himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence.”

The Taiwanese chief has now moderated his tone. defend the the established order of an island that features de facto like every impartial nation, however assures that its goal is to take care of peace with China, the Asian superpower that considers Taiwan a separatist province despite the fact that the CCP has by no means ruled that territory.

After the inauguration, there was a navy parade and Lai gave his speech supported by eight heads of state and second-level representatives – particularly retired senior officers – from greater than 50 international locations. The new president claimed above all of the protection of democracy – a phrase that he repeated as much as 31 occasions – in opposition to the specter of the authoritarian neighbor, however he was additionally extra conciliatory than anticipated by asking that the confrontation give option to the resumption of bilateral relations, with the return of tourism and the change of scholars.

“Democracy, peace and prosperity form Taiwan's national roadmap and are also our link to the rest of the world. We have grown to become one of the most vibrant democracies in the world,” Lai mentioned.

The chief additionally referred to the continued navy strain from Beijing within the Taiwan Strait, the place Chinese navy planes fly over the island's environment each week. Lai has described these actions because the “greatest strategic challenge for peace and global stability” and has requested China to “stop politically and militarily threatening” Taiwan.

“I call on China to ensure that the world is free from fear or war, to choose dialogue over confrontation. Taiwan cannot make any concessions on democracy and freedom,” he continued.

A couple of hours after the inauguration ceremony resulted in Taipei, there was a harsh official response from Beijing by way of a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which accused the brand new Taiwanese chief of “inciting confrontation”stressing that Lai's speech was consistent with in search of “Taiwan independence by force” and that what he does is promote the “lie of Taiwanese separatism”, one thing that “is doomed to failure.”

In addition to Lai, the brand new vice chairman, Hsiao Bi-khim (52 ​​years outdated), additionally participated within the swearing-in ceremony. one of many nice scourges of Beijing lately. She was ambassador to Washington from 2020 to 2023. She labored intently behind the scenes with each the Trump and Biden administrations to strengthen ties. Hsiao is banned from coming into China as a result of she was included on Beijing's blacklist. Accused of “collusion with the United States,” she has been sanctioned twice by Xi Jinping's authorities.

Lai and Hsiao used a worry marketing campaign in the direction of a future invasion by the Chinese military to revalidate in January for the PDP (with greater than 5 million votes, 41% of the voters) energy on the autonomous island, though it misplaced the bulk in Parliament, so it is going to have a difficult four-year time period.

Key to Lai's victory on the polls was the energy of a younger voters that helps his Government's progress on equality, surroundings and LGBT points. “We were the first country in Asia to legalize homosexual marriage,” the president recalled in his speech. But a lot of Taiwanese society continues to be very conservative regardless of the outward projection of modernity.

The opposition, led by the nationalists of the Kuomintang (KMT), closest to Beijing, will simply cease lots of the payments that the PDP intends to advance, however will assist the Lai Government within the dedication to rearmament that’s potential due to to help from the United States, which doesn’t acknowledge Taiwan as an impartial state, however maintains a agency bipartisan dedication to provide of weapons.

“Taiwan needs the world, in the same way that the world needs Taiwan,” the president additionally confused within the a part of his speech during which he spoke about semiconductors, a sought-after sector the place Taipei is absolutely the energy due to the corporate TSMC, the world's main producer of the very best high quality chips. “The future we decide is not only the future of our nation, but the future of the world,” he said.

From Washington, the Taiwanese acquired congratulations from the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who mentioned the US regarded ahead to “working with President Lai and across Taiwan's political spectrum to promote our shared interests and values, deepen our long-standing unofficial relationship, and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” . Another of the island's sturdy allies, Japan, additionally congratulated Lai, calling Taiwan an “extremely crucial partner and important friend.”

The son of a miner who studied at Harvard

So I considered one of seven youngsters in a working class mining household coming from Wanli, a small city close to the northeast coast of the island. He studied drugs and, due to a scholarship, he obtained a Master in Public Health at Harvard. He returned to his homeland as a medical advisor skilled in spinal twine accidents, however earlier than coming into his thirties he hung up his gown to make his manner as a legislator within the Taiwanese Parliament.

“When I was young, I was determined to practice medicine and save lives. When I entered politics, I was determined to transform Taiwan. Now, here, I am determined to strengthen Taiwan,” Lai mentioned Monday throughout his speech.

The new president has gone by way of nearly all ranges of Taiwanese politics. From rank and file to two-term mayor of the southern metropolis of Tainan; from prime minister to vice chairman. Now, as chief of a nation the dimensions of Extremadura and the place 23 million individuals dwell, he must face the complicated problem of continuous preventing for the protection of the sovereignty of Taiwan.

During Tsai's eight years in workplace, the island's record of formal diplomatic allies shrank from 22 to 12 as China stepped up efforts to cut back Taiwan's worldwide presence. Although Taipei lacks diplomatic recognition on the world stage, the Tsai Government managed to take care of good relations with the nice democracies of the West, which assist its the established order however they don’t dare to take one other step for worry of angering Beijing an excessive amount of.