Taiwan’s first woman president takes office with plea for peace with China

Taiwan’s first woman president Tsai Ing-wen called for positive dialogue with China in her much-anticipated inauguration speech on Friday, Ms Tsai struck a conciliatory tone as she took office after winning a landslide victory in January against Ma Ying-jeou, who was seen as too close to Beijing. But she sought to cast Taiwan as a force for peace in front of a jubilant crowd of more than 20,000 at the presidential palace in Taipei, where she was sworn in earlier in the day.

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

President Tsai Ing-wen

Relations with Beijing have already cooled since Ms Tsai won the presidency, with China putting pressure on Tsai to back its “one China” message. Her Democratic Progressive Party have never recognised the concept and she showed no sign of backing down from that stance in her speech. But she told the crowd: "Cross-strait relations have become an integral part of building regional peace and collective security. In this process, Taiwan will be a staunch guardian of peace that actively participates and is never absent.“

Tsai tried to strike a conciliatory tone given the lack of trust between the two sides. She is throwing the ball back into Beijing’s court

Tang Shao-cheng, a political scientist at National Chengchi University in Taipei