Tsai Ing-wen becomes Taiwan’s first female president. The new president urges China to drop historical baggage in her inaugural address.
Tsai said Taiwan would play a responsible role and be a “staunch guardian of peace” with China.
While Tsai called for “positive dialogue” with China, her soft approach was not reciprocated by Chinese authorities, who said regardless of what internal changes take place within Taiwan, “China will oppose Taiwanese independence.”
Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won parliamentary and presidential elections by a landslide in January on a voter backlash against creeping dependence on China.
The DPP, which has traditionally favoured independence from China, takes over after eight years under China-friendly Nationalist Ma Ying-jeou.
The new president did not mention the One-China policy in her televised inaugural address on Friday in a move likely to anger Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its own territory.
Tsai said in her speech that she respected the “joint acknowledgements and understandings” reached between the sides at a landmark 1992 meeting seen by China as underpinning all subsequent contacts and agreements.
However, Tsai made no explicit mention of the concept that Taiwan is a part of China, which Beijing says is crucial to the entire relationship.
Tsai called for Taipei and Beijing to “set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides”.