Taiwan’s new leader urges China cooperation

Tsai Ing-wen: Taiwan's first female president

Tsai Ing-Wen

Taiwan’s new President, Tsai Ing-wen, on Friday urged China to drop the baggage of history and cooperate with his government.

Tsai, who was sworn in with Taiwan’s export-driven economy on the ropes, made the call to the Chinese government in a rather conciliatory inauguration speech.

China, which views self-ruled Taiwan as its own, looks across the Taiwan Strait for anti-Beijing sentiment that could further sour economic ties.

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally favoured independence, won parliamentary and presidential elections by a landslide in January on a voter backlash against creeping dependence on China.

It takes over after eight years under China-friendly nationalist, Ma Ying-jeou.
Tsai, Taiwan’s first woman president said that the country would play a responsible role and be a staunch guardian of peace with China.

“Cross-Strait relations have become an integral part of building regional peace and collective security,’’ she told thousands outside the presidential office.

“The two governing parties across the Strait must set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue for the benefit of the people on both sides.”

China, which has never renounced force to take control of what it considered a renegade province, said this month that the new Taiwan government would be blamed for any crisis that may erupt.

Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the Communists in China in 1949.

China has pressured the new government to stick to the “one China’’ principle agreed with the Nationalists.