Taiwan swears in Ma as president

Taiwan swears in Ma as president

Ma Ying-jeou has been sworn in as Taiwan’s new president.

Mr Ma, 57, won the presidential election in March with a comfortable majority and has promised to improve relations with China.

The Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate was sworn in for a four-year term during a ceremony at Taipei’s ornate presidential office.

He takes over from Chen Shui-bian, whose moves towards independence had angered China.

‘Peacemaker’

Vice President Vincent Siew, 69, was sworn in after Mr Ma.

Mr Siew has already met Chinese President Hu Jintao in the highest-level contact between the two governments since their post-civil war split in 1949.

Mr Ma has pledged to improve trade and transport ties with Taiwan’s giant neighbour.

Taiwan has banned direct trade and most direct transport links with the mainland since 1949, and visits to the island by mainland tourists are severely restricted.

The BBC’s Caroline Gluck in Taipei says the inauguration marks a new chapter in Taiwan’s short democratic history.

She says Mr Ma’s election reflects the Taiwanese people’s desire for change and a new direction.

Mr Ma has said he wants to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker, a dig, our correspondent says, at his predecessor Mr Chen.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7409636.stm

Glad things are getting back to normal in Taiwan after 8 years of stupidity from Chen A-bian.

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