Tsai Ing-Wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was inaugurated as Taiwan’s first woman president on Friday. She swore-in at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei under the national flag and a portrait of Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China.
Taiwan has been in recession for the past few months due to the lack of demand which slowed down export. Tsai has impressed the people by opening up the nation to multilateral and bilateral trade relations with the international community. China is the largest market for the island.
Tsai agreed that “the path forward is not a smooth one.” China did not welcome the inaugural speech when she declared the citizens were “committed to the defense of our freedom and democracy as a way of life.” She carefully mentioned the ‘92 Consensus that China and Taiwan should “set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides.”
In 1949, the Communists victory in China’s civil war led the nationalists to retreat to Taiwan and the two separate sides were formed. Beijing always viewed the island as an escapee from the “one-China” principle and the island was to be under the ruling of the mainland.
Recently, China conducted military exercises reflecting an island invasion to respond to the popularity of Tsai’s election. In the past months, several Taiwanese fraud suspects were deported from Kenya and Malaysia to face prosecution. The Taiwanese government calls it a “gross violation of basic human rights.” The mainland is also trying to prevent the island to participate in international organization events to show that Beijing is handling all matters.
The Taiwanese younger generation are pleased with Taiwan standing on her own without becoming another Chinese territory and hoping for the island’s economy to become more independent.