Taiwan’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in on Friday.
Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally favoured independence from China, won parliamentary and presidential elections by a landslide in January taking over from the China-friendly Nationalist Ma Ying-jeou who have ruled for eight years.
Ms Tsai, 59, swore the presidential oath in front of the national flag, before she was presented with the official seal.
In her inaugural speech, she said Taiwanese people had shown they were “committed to the defence of our freedom and democracy as a way of life”.
She urged neighbouring China in a conciliatory inauguration speech to “drop the baggage of history” as Beijing’s Communist Party rulers had been watching for any move towards independence.
Beijing is deeply distrustful of her DPP who promote a “sovereign and independent” Taiwan.
Communists say they rule all of China, including Taiwan, while nationalists maintain Taipei is the ruler.
Tsai said she will safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and territory and the island would be a “staunch guardian of peace.”