Taiwan’s new president urges China to stop hostilities

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By Creative Media News

  • President Lai Ching-te urges China to cease intimidation, promote peace
  • Lai emphasizes Taiwan’s strategic importance, calls for dialogue over confrontation
  • Inauguration garners global attention; China increases military activity around Taiwan

As the newly inaugurated president of Taiwan, Lai Ching-te demanded that China “cease their political and military intimidation against Taiwan” and prevent further war from engulfing the international community.

Lai assumed the presidency on Monday morning at the presidential office constructed in central Taipei during the Japanese colonial era. Tsai Ing-wen’s relations with Beijing deteriorated during her eight years in office.

Lai, 64, has been labeled a “dangerous separatist” by China, which asserts that the democratic island of Taiwan is a province and will bring about “war and decline” for the region. Even though the Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan, Xi Jinping has declared “reunification” inevitable.

In his inaugural address as president, Lai stated that the island’s strategic significance suggested that Taiwan’s future was of equal importance to the international community and the Taiwanese people.

The individual in question urged China to “cease their political and military intimidation against Taiwan, assume the joint global responsibility of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the wider region, and guarantee that the world is devoid of the apprehension of war.

“I sincerely hope that China will acknowledge the reality of the Republic of China’s existence, respect the decisions of the Taiwanese people, and choose dialogue over confrontation, exchange over containment, and that it will cooperate with the legal government elected by the Taiwanese people in good faith, by the principles of parity and dignity.”

He cautioned Taiwanese citizens against harboring fallacies and urged them to exhibit unwavering determination in safeguarding the nation.

As long as China continues to reject the use of force against Taiwan, it is crucial for all of us in Taiwan to comprehend that China’s aspiration to annex Taiwan will persist, even if we surrender our sovereignty and accept the entirety of China’s position,” he stated.

Lai lauded Taiwan’s democratic process, employing the Chinese term “democracy” thirty-one times throughout his discourse.

He referred to Taiwan’s sad history of authoritarian control spanning from 1949 to the late 1980s and the absence of direct presidential elections since 1996. The results of those elections “convinced the international community that the Republic of China Taiwan is an independent, sovereign nation whose authority resides with its citizens.”

Lai and Hsiao Bi-Khim, vice-president and former Taiwanese envoy to Washington, are Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members who have advocated for Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Lai previously characterized himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence.” However, he has recently adopted a more moderate position, mirroring Tsai’s approach, which garnered commendation during her tenure for facilitating peaceful resolutions without capitulation.

The Taiwan Affairs office in Beijing, which handles cross-strait issues, proclaimed “Taiwan independence and peace in the strait… like water and fire” before Lai’s inauguration.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Monday afternoon that Taiwan independence was “pointless, and secession is doomed to fail, regardless of the banner used.”

Near-daily Chinese warplane and naval vessel activity was observed around the island, and the quantity of fighter aircraft and drones increased in the week preceding the inauguration ceremony. A hashtag associated with the inauguration was prohibited on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, but there was no immediate response to Lai’s speech from Beijing.

Lai elicited applause when he expressed his desire to reinstate the restricted bilateral reciprocal tourism between China and Taiwan. Lai stated that it could only occur under specific circumstances involving “cooperation and respect with the legitimate government elected by the people of Taiwan.” Numerous Taiwanese citizens maintain commercial and social connections with China and yearn for amicable relations to resume despite their opposition to unification.

Political scientist Wen-Ti Sung of the Australian National University stated that Lai’s speech “reaffirmed that accommodationism will not work and that deterrence is the most important security safeguard for Taiwan.”

Dr. Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy, an assistant professor at Taiwan National Dong Hwa University, described the speech as “firm and powerful, while also urging China to reconsider its refusal to engage in dialogue with any DPP administration.”

Amanda Hsiao, an analyst for the International Crisis Group in China, stated that the likelihood of dialogue was remote due to the absence of a distinct foundation on which both parties could agree.

Lai has intermittently questioned the Republic of China (ROC) constitution’s suitability as the foundation for matters concerning the Taiwan Strait, in contrast to Tsai, who exploited the document’s ambiguities regarding the existence of “one China” to advance her objectives in Beijing. Monday, in his address, he made reference to the constitution while stating that China and the ROC were not “subordinate” to one another.

Hsiao stated, “His speech demonstrates his skepticism of formulations that could be construed as legitimizing the concept of ‘one China’ out of concern that this would give China’s claim more ground to advance.” “His mistrust of Beijing’s intentions is considerable,”

At 9:00 a.m. (1:00 GMT), Lai and Hsiao were sworn into office within the President’s Office in Taipei. Morris Chang, the founder of TSMC, the preeminent semiconductor manufacturer responsible for a substantial portion of Taiwan’s GDP and the production of the majority of the world’s highest-quality chips, was among the small gathering of witnesses.

Lai, Hsiao, and Tsai exited the venue following the ceremony’s formalities to salute the tens of thousands of delegates and members of the public. Tsai extended a warm handshake to the incoming team while a screened message expressed gratitude for her service to “Xiao Ing” (a moniker for Tsai that translates to “little Ing”).

Over 600 individuals attended the ceremony in delegations from various nations, including eleven of Taiwan’s twelve diplomatic allies and significant international allies from the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Australia. Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state, was a member of the United States delegation. Although Beijing had expressed disapproval of the delegations dispatched by nations that formally acknowledge Beijing’s authority over Taipei, each of those delegations did not comprise senior ministers or heads of state.

Antony Blinken, the secretary of state for the United States, congratulated Lai and expressed his anticipation that Washington and Taipei would strengthen their ties and preserve “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” During the ceremony, the Commerce Ministry of China announced sanctions against three American weapon manufacturers for supplying arms to Taiwan.

In addition, Lai acknowledged the domestic obstacles he encountered, such as housing expenses, the wealth gap, and pressures associated with the cost of living. Furthermore, he committed to enhancing the state of public infrastructure. The DPP’s legislative majority was lost while Lai was sworn in as president and needed to be recovered.

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Recently, Taipei has been bustling with activity as Air Force aircraft and helicopters have practiced the aerial formation that wished Lai well while flying over the city. In between speeches, the audience was entertained by various Taiwanese dance styles, from traditional opera to hip-hop.

Li Xiang, a 92-year-old Taiwanese resident of Osaka, was among the attendees who had returned for the inauguration.

“Taiwan is a sovereign independent nation.” “The absence of diplomatic relations is irrelevant,” he stated.

Twenty-three million individuals will determine their destinies. We are not subordinate to the People’s Republic of China. We have everything: government, people, land, sovereignty, and a constitution.”

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