William Lai Ching-te takes oath to become Taiwan’s new president

Lai takes over as leader as Beijing aggressively asserts its claim over the self-governed island of 23 million people.

Taiwan’s new President William Lai Ching-te (right) waves alongside outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen during the inauguration ceremony [Sam Yeh/ AFP]Published On 20 May 202420 May 2024

Taipei, TaiwanWilliam Lai Ching-te has been sworn in as president of Taiwan in a ceremony that included a 21-gun salute.

Lai and Vice President Hsia Bi-khim took their oaths on Monday beneath a portrait of Sun Yat-Sen, the founder of the Republic of China, the formal name for Taiwan’s government.

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Outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen also bid farewell during the ceremony, signing off after eight years and a maximum two terms in office.

Representatives from 29 countries were in attendance on Monday, including those from Taiwan’s last 12 diplomatic allies in the Pacific, Central America and the Holy See.

The ceremony took place in Taiwan’s presidential building, which was built when the island was a Japanese colony [Taiwan Presidential Office via AFP]

Former United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended, as did Former Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and representatives of foreign “economic” or “trade” offices that serve as de facto diplomatic missions.

Festivities also included a military parade and traditional drum and dance performance, celebrating Taiwan’s cultural heritage.

Source: Al Jazeera