New head of Taiwan's ruling party stresses continuation of Tsai's China policy

The new chairperson of Taiwan's governing Democratic Progressive Party has stressed that he will carry on President Tsai Ing-wen's policy on relations with China and the future of Taiwan. He says there is no need to proclaim afresh Taiwan's independence.

Lai Ching-te, who currently serves as Taiwan's vice president, assumed the post on Wednesday after winning an uncontested leadership election three days earlier.

Speaking at a news conference after being sworn in at the party headquarters, Lai said that Taiwan has already positioned itself as a sovereign independent state and there is no need to declare its independence again.

Lai is widely seen as his party's potential candidate in next year's presidential election.

Before assuming the vice presidency, he described himself as a practical pro-independence worker.

Chinese officials have said, apparently with Lai in mind, that if peace is being sought in the Taiwan Strait, the stance of supporting Taiwan's independence should be abandoned.

President Tsai is said to have won the trust of the United States for her cautious comments and actions on Taiwan's relationship with China.

By stressing the continuation of Tsai's policy, Lai apparently tried to send a message to the people in Taiwan and the US that he will not give China an excuse to use force even if he becomes president.