Taiwan's New President Sworn In, Calls On Chinese Regime To Stop Intimidation

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 21, 2024 - 03:05 PM

By Frank Fang of Epoch Times

Taiwan’s new president has been sworn into office, calling on the Chinese regime to stop its military and political intimidations in a speech unlikely to deter the communist regime’s ambition to seize control of the self-ruling island.

Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te delivers his inaugural speech after being sworn into office during the inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 20, 2024.

In his 30-minute inaugural speech on May 20, Lai Ching-te, from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said that Taiwan is a “sovereign and independent country,” and that the island nation and the communist regime in mainland China “are not subordinate to each other.”

“I also want to call on China to cease their political and military intimidations against Taiwan, and share with Taiwan the global responsibility of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, as well as the greater region, and to ensure the world is free from the fear of war,” Mr. Lai said.

Mr. Lai said his administration aims to “further entrench Taiwan’s democracy” and “maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific.”

“I have always believed that if the leader of a country puts people’s welfare above all, then peace in the Taiwan Strait, mutual benefits, and prosperous coexistence would be common goals,” he said. “I hope that China will face the reality of the Republic of China’s existence.”

Mr. Lai won January’s presidential election by a margin of about 7 percentage points over second-place Hou Yu-ih, a candidate of the Kuomintang Party (KMT). His victory gave the DPP an unprecedented third consecutive term, after eight years with Tsai Ing-wen at the helm.

The DPP’s win is considered a setback for the CCP, which has traditionally favored KMT political candidates because of their friendly view of the communist neighbor. In contrast, the Chinese regime has labeled Mr. Lai as a “troublemaker” and “separatist.”

The CCP often slaps the “separatist” label on any Taiwanese who defends the island’s sovereignty and rejects the communist regime’s territorial claim over the island. China’s communist regime is preparing its military to seize Taiwan, even though the island is a de facto independent nation with its own military, constitution, and currency.

Mr. Lai reminded the Taiwanese people that they shouldn’t harbor any delusions about China.

“So long as China refuses to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, all of us in Taiwan ought to understand that even if we accept the entirety of China’s position and give up our sovereignty, China’s ambition to annex Taiwan will not simply disappear,” he said.

Strengthening Democratic Resilience

As for international affairs, Mr. Lai said he will work with “other democratic nations to form a democratic community,” working together on issues such as combatting disinformation and strengthening democratic resilience.

China’s efforts to influence Taiwan’s elections have been well-documented, with tactics including promoting disinformation via social media platforms and using financial incentives to sway Taiwanese voters.

A declassified U.S. intelligence report has shown that China interfered in the U.S. 2022 midterm elections, and there are increasing concerns that the CCP will try to influence the outcome of the November elections.

Before his speech, Mr. Lai accepted congratulations from about 200 foreign politicians and delegates at Taiwan’s Presidential Office on May 20. The visiting dignitaries included those from the nations that currently maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, as well as those from Japan, Australia, Canada, the United States, and several European nations.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former top White House economic aide Brian Deese were among a U.S. bipartisan delegation that met with Mr. Lai on May 20. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also made the trip to Taiwan to congratulate Mr. Lai.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement congratulating Mr. Lai, while applauding Ms. Tsai for “strengthening ties between the United States and Taiwan over the past eight years.”

“We look forward to working with President Lai and across Taiwan’s political spectrum to advance our shared interests and values, deepen our longstanding unofficial relationship, and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Blinken stated.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he looks forward to “working with the Lai Administration to continue strengthening the U.S.–Taiwan relationship through expanding our economic, security, and people-to-people ties,” according to a statement.

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a global coalition of lawmakers, issued a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, to congratulate Mr. Lai on his inauguration.

‘Trusted Industry Sectors’

Mr. Lai also spoke about the importance of Taiwan’s tech industries to the world.

“Taiwan has already mastered advanced semiconductor manufacturing, and we stand at the center of the AI revolution,” he said. “We are a key player in supply chains for global democracies.”

Taiwan produces about 90 percent of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, which are tiny chips that power everything from computers and smartphones to missile systems. As a result, China’s ambition to seize Taiwan is also driven in part by the goal of taking control of the island’s semiconductor sector.

Under his administration, Mr. Lai said he aims to develop “five trusted industry sectors”: semiconductors, artificial intelligence (AI), military, security and surveillance, and next-generation communications.

Before the May 20 inauguration, China was already taking steps to put pressure on Mr. Lai.

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