Blinken responds to inauguration of Taiwan's Lai Ching-te as president

Washington DC - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Taiwan's newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te late Sunday, saying he looked forward to Washington and Taipei maintaining "peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (l.) congratulated Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te upon his inauguration Sunday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (l.) congratulated Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te upon his inauguration Sunday.  © Collage: Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS & REUTERS

Lai was sworn in early Monday Taiwan time and will face rising geo-political turbulence in the region, with Chinese military pressure building and tense Washington-Beijing relations.

In addition to hailing Lai, "we also congratulate the Taiwan people for once again demonstrating the strength of their robust and resilient democratic system," Blinken said in a statement.

"The partnership between the American people and the Taiwan people, rooted in democratic values, continues to broaden and deepen across trade, economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties," the top US diplomat added.

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He also commended outgoing president Tsai Ing-wen for "strengthening ties" between the United States and Taiwan over the past eight years.

"We look forward to working with President Lai and across Taiwan's political spectrum to advance our shared interests and values, deepen our longstanding unofficial relationship, and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Blinken's statement came as China said Monday it would sanction three US defense companies over their sales of arms to Taiwan.

Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but it has remained Taiwan's most important partner and biggest arms supplier.

Cover photo: Collage: Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS & REUTERS

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