Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Lai Ching-te inaugurated as Taiwan’s president which will likely bolster US ties

New Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, centre, vice president Hsiao Bi-khim, right, and former president Tsai Ing-wen (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)
New Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, centre, vice president Hsiao Bi-khim, right, and former president Tsai Ing-wen (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

Relative moderate Lai Ching-te has been inaugurated as Taiwan’s new president and will continue the self-governing island’s democracy policy of de facto independence while seeking to bolster its defences against China.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory and has been upping its threats to annex it by force if necessary.

Mr Lai accepted congratulations from fellow politicians and delegations from the 12 nations that maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, as well as politicians from the US, Japan and various European states.

Mr Lai entered politics as mayor of the southern city of Tainan and then rose to vice president.

Taiwan President
Taiwan’s former president Tsai Ing-wen (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP, File)

He takes over from Tsai Ing-wen, who led Taiwan through eight years of economic and social development despite the pandemic and China’s escalating military threats.

Mr Lai, who served as vice president during Ms Tsai’s second term, came across as more of a firebrand earlier in his career.

In 2017, he described himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwan’s independence”, drawing Beijing’s rebuke.

He has since softened his stance and now supports maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and the possibility of talks with Beijing.

Mr Lai will build on Ms Tsai’s efforts to strengthen ties with the US, which does not formally recognise Taiwan as a country but is bound by its own laws to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

Taiwan New President
Taiwan’s new president Lai Ching-te waves to invited guests as he attends a welcome reception for delegations to the inauguration ceremony (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

During Ms Tsai’s tenure, Taiwan became the first society in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, though critics say she skirted political responsibility by leaving the decision up to the Supreme Court and a series of referendums.

She oversaw a controversial pension and labour reform and extended the military conscription length to one year.

She also kickstarted a military modernisation drive, including a programme for building indigenous submarines at more than 16 billion dollars (£12.5 billion) each.

Ms Tsai’s leadership during the pandemic split public opinion, with most admiring Taiwan’s initial ability to keep the virus largely outside its borders but criticising the lack of investment in rapid testing as the pandemic progressed.