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Lai Ching-te Sworn in as New Taiwan President, Urges China to Halt Military Intimidation

Lai Ching-te was sworn in as Taiwan’s new President in a ceremony on Monday after winning the election earlier this year. He succeeds Tsai Ing-wen, who led Taiwan through eight years marked by economic and social progress despite the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s increasing military threats. Lai, a relative moderate, aims to maintain Taiwan’s policy of de facto independence while bolstering its defense capabilities against China.

Inauguration Ceremony

Thousands gathered in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei to witness the inauguration. The event featured a military march, artistic performances, and a helicopter formation carrying Taiwan’s flag. Lai received congratulations from politicians and delegations from 12 nations with official diplomatic ties to Taiwan, as well as representatives from the US, Japan, and Europe.

Policy Continuity and Defense Strategy

Lai has pledged to continue Tsai’s efforts to maintain stability with China and enhance Taiwan’s security through advanced military imports from the US, expansion of the domestic defense industry, and strengthening regional partnerships with allies such as the US, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

US-Taiwan Relations

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken congratulated Lai and expressed the US’s commitment to working with Taiwan to advance shared interests and maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Political Stance and Legacy

Lai, formerly vice president during Tsai’s second term, was once a vocal advocate for Taiwan’s independence but has since moderated his stance, supporting the status quo and potential talks with Beijing. He inherits Tsai’s progressive policies, including universal health care, support for higher education, and recognition of same-sex marriage.

Tsai Ing-wen’s Legacy

Tsai’s tenure saw significant reforms, including pension and labor reforms, extension of military conscription, and a military modernization drive. Her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic received mixed reactions, praised for initially keeping the virus at bay but criticized for insufficient investment in rapid testing as the pandemic progressed.


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