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William Lai has taken up office as Taiwan’s new leader 

Lai is considered a separatist by Beijing, which is stepping up pressure on the island as geopolitical tensions mount in the South China Sea.

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ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

William Lai began his tenure as Taiwan’s new leader today, replacing fellow Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member, Tsai Ing-wen.

The news was greeted with conspicuous silence by Beijing, which regards Lai as a separatist. China’s Ministry of State Security published an article on WeChat this morning, accusing “some anti-Chinese forces in the US” of undermining the One China principle. 

Washington has stepped up its overtures to Taipei in recent years in a bid to contain China’s geopolitical rise. The US has sold billions of dollars worth of arms to the island and last month approved a sweeping aid package. Several senior US politicians have also made highly provocative visits to the island, which the UN considers to be part of China.

[See more: China and the US pledge to continue talks after Xi Jinping meets Antony Blinken]

The Biden administration has meanwhile imposed punitive restrictions on mainland China’s tech industry, while giving generous assistance to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

Although Lai has said that he seeks “mutual benefits and prosperous coexistence” with the mainland, his politics are likely to inflame cross-strait tensions.

Earlier this month, Yang Tao, a senior official at China’s Foreign Ministry, said “There is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.”

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