Taiwan’s first female leader sworn in

Tsai Ing-wen arrives at the presidential office to be sworn in (20 May 2016)Image copyright

Tsai Ing-wen has been sworn in as the new president of Taiwan, the island’s first female leader.

Ms Tsai, seen as a shy but determined leader, led her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a landslide win in elections in January.

The DPP has traditionally leaned towards independence from China, and its victory has led to a cooling of relations with Beijing.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway provinc

In the past, it has threatened to take back the island by force if necessary.

Ms Tsai has said she will preserve the status quo with China, but that Beijing must respect Taiwan’s democracy. Relations with China along with tackling Taiwan’s flagging economy are her biggest challenges.

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Ms Tsai and her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou came out of the presidential palace together to greet the public after her swearing in

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A military parade and a display of Taiwanese history are being held in the capital in celebration

Ms Tsai, 59, swore the presidential oath in front of the national flag, before being presented with the official seal.

She and outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou then came out to wave at the crowds watching on screens outside the presidential palace.

She will later deliver her inauguration speech, which will be closely watched across the straits in China.

Local media quoted her spokesman as saying the speech would focus on the economy and stable development as well as Taiwan’s future relationship with Beijing.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said nearly 700 heads of state, diplomats and dignitaries would be attending the event in Taipei.

Ms Tsai’s election win was only the second ever for the DPP – the Kuomintang (KMT) has been in power for most of the past 70 years.

But Mr Ma lost public support over his handling of the economy, the widening wealth gap, as well as what many say was too friendly an approach to Beijing.

Media captionIt is highly unusual for Taiwanese high-ranking officials to take an informal approach in public


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