Lai: Taiwan will maintain status quo with China, seek cross-strait peace

President of Taiwan Lai Ching-te has stressed in his inauguration speech that he will maintain the status quo in Taiwan's relations with China and pursue peace and prosperity together.

Lai took the oath of office in a ceremony at the presidential office in Taipei on Monday morning.

He said he will abide by the Constitution, fulfill his duties faithfully, promote people's welfare and protect Taiwan.

The new president then gave a speech from a stage set up in front of the presidential office.

Lai, speaking about Taiwan's relations with China, said his government will "neither yield nor provoke, and maintain the status quo."

Lai said he hopes China will choose dialogue and exchange, and "under the principles of parity and dignity, engage in cooperation with the legal government chosen by Taiwan's people."

He said this can start from the resumption of tourism on a reciprocal basis, and enrollment of degree students in Taiwanese institutions. He suggested that the two sides pursue peace and mutual prosperity together.

At the same time, Lai mentioned the need to strengthen Taiwan's defense capability, saying "we must demonstrate our resolution" to defend Taiwan in the face of "the many threats and attempts of infiltration from China."

Lai went on to say that by standing side-by-side with democratic countries, Taiwan can help form a peaceful global community that can demonstrate the strength of deterrence and prevent war.

He said Taiwan can achieve its goal of "peace through strength" that way.

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of China. Lai denied the claim by saying that the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China "are not subordinate to each other."

China has called Lai a separatist and is apparently trying to keep him in check.

It said last week that the new leader of the "Taiwan region" must make a clear choice between the path of peaceful development on one hand and provocation and confrontation on the other.