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Lai Ching-te assumes office amid cheers and global attention

Reporter Dimitri Bruyas
Release time:2024/05/20 17:46
Last update time:2024/05/20 19:05
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Lai Ching-te (賴清德) was inaugurated Monday (May 20) as the 16th-term president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), amid a grand ceremony that highlighted Taiwan's growing global engagement and the mounting tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

President Lai used his inaugural address to welcome the world to Taiwan and express gratitude to the new residents and foreign nationals who have made Taiwan their home. "As Taiwan engages more closely with the rest of the world, we welcome the world to come closer to Taiwan," Lai said. 

 

"Many new residents and foreign nationals have come and made Taiwan their home, writing a new chapter in Taiwan's story. To all of you, I give my sincere thanks and respect," he continued.

A Grand Ceremony with Global Attention
The ceremony, held in front of the presidential office in Taipei, drew significant international attention, with 51 delegations totaling 508 dignitaries celebrating the occasion. Distinguished guests included heads of state, vice presidents, and foreign ministers from Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. The Kingdom of Eswatini sent the largest delegation, comprising 120 members, while the Holy See dispatched a special envoy.

 
Notably, Japan saw a record turnout of lawmakers and officials, signaling strong support from its regional neighbor. Non-diplomatic partners like the United States, Canada, Singapore, and the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group made notable appearances. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended in a personal capacity, underscoring the global support for Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Among the attendees were many supporters who had traveled long distances to attend the celebrations. "Here today are many friends who have come quite a long way from their countries to join us," Lai said. "And many overseas compatriots are also here showing their support with their presence. So, why don't we let them all know how much we appreciate their support? Please give them a round of applause!"

Managing Relations with China
Despite the celebratory atmosphere, Lai faces the significant challenge of managing relations with China, which continues to assert its claim over Taiwan. This geopolitical tension remains a critical issue that could impact Taiwan's remaining diplomatic ties and its economic and social frameworks.

The growing interest in Taiwan's semiconductor industry adds another layer to the international dynamics. Taiwan is a key player in the global tech supply chain, and any disruptions could have far-reaching implications. As President Lai takes office, he is expected to navigate these complex challenges proactively and innovatively.

Celebrations Continue
Following the ceremonies in Taipei, the celebration will continue with a grand state dinner in Tainan, accommodating nearly 800 guests across 80 tables. The festivities symbolize a unified embrace of Taiwan's democratic principles and a commitment to its future trajectory.

Lai's administration is poised to chart new courses for Taiwan's military, economic, and social frameworks. His leadership promises to strengthen Taiwan's position both domestically and internationally. "I also want to thank my fellow citizens once again for your support, for refusing to be swayed by external forces, for resolutely defending democracy, for pressing onward without turning back," Lai said, acknowledging the resilience and determination of the Taiwanese people.

 
As Taiwan moves forward under Lai's presidency, the nation looks to bolster its sovereignty, expand its global ties, and enhance its strategic industries. The world will be watching closely as Taiwan navigates this new chapter in its history.
 

Taiwan Affairs

#Taiwan#president#inauguration#Lai Ching-te#leadership#democracy#ceremony#state dinner#global engagement#China relations

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