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President & vice president

President Lai
President Lai

Dr. Lai Ching-te was born in 1959 in New Taipei City’s Wanli District. The son of a coal miner, his upbringing and medical training in empirical logic have given him the ability to understand and identify with the popular will and find tailor-made solutions, the foundations of a unique governing style that inspires public trust.

After receiving a B.S. from National Taiwan University’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Lai completed the Post-Bachelor Program in Medical Science at National Cheng Kung University. He then obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University, making him one of the few physicians in Taiwan with rehabilitation, clinical care, and public health expertise.

In 1994 when he was a chief resident at National Cheng Kung University Hospital and Taiwan was holding its first direct election for Taiwan provincial governor, Dr. Lai began his involvement in public affairs as the head of a Tainan physicians association supporting Chen Ting-nan (陳定南), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for governor.

During the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, Dr. Lai decided to emulate his predecessors in the pursuit of democracy and gave up his medical career to enter politics. In the election for National Assembly representatives that year, he was the leading vote getter from Tainan City, and he set out on a historic mission to abolish the National Assembly.

In 1998, Dr. Lai was elected to the Legislative Yuan representing Tainan City. Leveraging his medical expertise, he played a dynamic role in the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee while addressing over 100,000 local issues. Dr. Lai put equal emphasis on professional governance and solid service, and Tainan citizens showed their appreciation by electing him to the legislature for four consecutive terms (1999-2010).

During his legislative tenure, Dr. Lai was named “Best Legislator” by Citizen Congress Watch, demonstrated leadership and coordination skills as the DPP caucus whip, and led delegations to Japan and the United States to conduct parliamentary diplomacy. He chaired the legislature’s bipartisan Health, Welfare and Environment Foundation and was also part of a lobby group promoting Taiwan’s World Health Organization (WHO) membership, making seven trips to 22 countries including Korea, Japan, the United States, and European Union member states. In 2004, Dr. Lai was also chosen to participate in the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

In 2010, Tainan County and Tainan City were merged to form the Tainan Special Municipality. Dr. Lai was elected as the first mayor, building a reputation for honest, diligent, and efficient government that became known as the Tainan New Deal. Running for re-election in 2014, Dr. Lai garnered 72.9% of the vote, the highest percentage in Tainan history, and the highest for any county or city head since the lifting of martial law in 1987.

As mayor from 2010 to 2017, Dr. Lai also actively promoted city diplomacy, working closely with Japan’s government, National Diet, and private sector to promote exchanges and sister-city agreements, enhancing substantive ties in culture, tourism, sports, agriculture, and disaster relief. In 2014, he met with State Department and National Security Council officials responsible for Asia-Pacific affairs for topical discussions in Washington, DC.

In keynote speeches delivered in English at the Henry L. Stimson Center and Project 2049 Institute that same year, he cited the DPP’s achievements using the letters of the party’s English abbreviation: Democracy, Peace, and Prosperity. He was also invited by the Israeli government to attend the 2016 International Mayors Conference in Israel, and he was the only mayor representing an Asian city in attendance that year. In 2017, he visited Washington, DC once again to hold in-depth discussions with experts from well-known think tanks about the Indo-Pacific situation, US-China relations, and the international trade regime following the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Taking on new leadership responsibilities in troubling times, Dr. Lai served as Taiwan’s premier from 2017 to 2019. His practical, results-oriented Cabinet adopted five key policy goals, setting out to promote: Taiwanese culture, the Green Silicon Island and smart digital nation concepts, a just society, and national well-being. His term of office also saw solid progress in achieving his vision of providing peaceful lives and employment security, sustainability, and balanced development throughout Taiwan.

In May of 2019, Dr. Lai traveled to Japan to deliver a speech to the House of Representatives on Taiwan-Japan relations during the Reiwa reign of Japan’s new emperor Naruhito. He also held talks with dozens of parliamentarians and secretaries from various political parties, emphasizing that new international conditions make Taiwan-Japan cooperation under the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy essential.

In November of 2019, as the anti-extradition movement roiled Hong Kong, Taiwan was in a key strategic location in the first island chain defending Asian democracy. With democratic institutions threatened like never before, Dr. Lai accepted President Tsai Ing-wen’s invitation to be her vice-presidential running mate in the following year’s election. Working on the front lines to consolidate Taiwan’s democratic system, he campaigned for the DPP candidates island-wide and defended Taiwan’s democracy, helping President Tsai win re-election and the DPP retain a legislative majority. The Tsai-Lai ticket rode to victory with a record-high of 8.17 million votes.

In February 2020, Dr. Lai accepted an invitation to the 68th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, becoming the highest-ranking official from Taiwan to attend since official diplomatic relations were severed 41 years ago while opening a new chapter in Taiwan-US relations. In May, Dr. Lai was officially sworn in as the 15th-term Vice President. 

In January 2023, Dr. Lai began concurrently serving as DPP chairperson. In the same year, he was announced as the DPP candidate for Taiwan’s 16th-term presidential election, and was successfully elected in January 2024. Dr. Lai’s presidency is the first to mark three consecutive terms of the same political party in office since Taiwan began holding direct presidential elections in 1996. He is also the first president to have served both as vice president and as a physician. Dr. Lai was officially sworn in as the 16th-term president in May.

2024-06-25 Meets with a delegation from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a body established by the US Congress. Says that in facing expanding authoritarianism, we are well aware that strengthening Taiwan’s security will strengthen regional security and advance global peace and prosperity. States that Taiwan will continue to manage cross-strait relations responsibly and will endeavor to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and in the Indo-Pacific region. Expresses hope that the international community will not allow China to decide at its own whim where to draw the red line.
2024-06-24 Delivers remarks on recent legislative amendments. States that he will petition the Constitutional Court for a constitutional interpretation, as well as petition for a preliminary injunction. Expresses hope that all of our fellow citizens can work together to safeguard our constitutional system, more deeply entrench our democracy, and protect the rights of the people.
2024-06-24 Accompanied by Vice President Bi-khim Hsiao, welcomes Prime Minister Terrance Drew of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis and his wife with full military honors. In bilateral talks with Prime Minister Drew, thanks St. Kitts and Nevis for its longstanding support for Taiwan’s international participation and expresses hope that our two countries will continue to strengthen cooperation in such areas as medicine and public health, agricultural technology, and women’s empowerment. Hosts a state luncheon at the Presidential Office in honor of Prime Minister Drew and his wife.
2024-06-19 Holds a press conference marking his first month in office titled “Building Trust through Policy Initiatives: A New Taiwan for an Era of Innovation” to announce the establishment of three committees at the Presidential Office: the National Climate Change Response Committee, Whole-of-Society Defense Resilience Committee, and Healthy Taiwan Promotion Committee. Notes that the goal of the committees is to develop national strategies, engage in dialogue with civil society, deepen cooperation with the international community, and take action for Taiwan’s future.
2024-06-18 Meets with a senior delegation from the Atlantic Council, a think tank based in Washington, DC. Says that his administration will actively strengthen Taiwan’s partnerships with other democracies through values-based diplomacy in order to promote democracy, peace, and prosperity and enhance the welfare of our peoples.
2024-06-16 Presides over the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of China Military Academy (also known as “Whampoa”). States that he has three expectations for the cadets: first, to deeply grasp the historical significance of sacrifice, unity, and responsibility; second, to give their all for their fellow citizens; third, to defend national sovereignty. Expresses hope that they can all work together to safeguard national dignity and bring honor and prosperity to the nation.
2024-06-15 Attends the 5th National Oceans Day celebration. States that the government is promoting three pieces of ocean-related legislation to help enhance the resilience of the ocean environment. Expresses hope that the central and local governments can work in concert to develop the strengths of our maritime nation and maritime cities, giving Taiwan wind in its sails as it continues to engage with the world. Later, presides over the commissioning ceremony of the offshore patrol vessel the Yunlin.
2024-06-14 Meets with Ambassador James Moriarty, former American Institute in Taiwan Chairman. Says that Taiwan will continue showing the world our determination to defend ourselves and safeguard freedom and democracy. States that Taiwan will continue to actively work with the United States and other like-minded countries to overcome various challenges.
2024-06-14 Meets with a delegation led by Czech Republic Senate First Vice-President Jiří Drahoš. States that as part of our Taiwan-Czech resilience project, Taiwan’s first overseas integrated circuit design training base will be established in Prague. Also states that the Czech Centre in Taipei opens on June 14. Expresses confidence that moving forward, cooperation between Taiwan and the Czech Republic is sure to deepen, creating prosperity and growth for both our nations.
2024-06-13 Attends the 2024 Europe Day Dinner. Expresses gratitude to the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan for advancing the Taiwan-EU economic and trade relationship and enhancing our industrial links. Thanks our friends from Europe for voicing support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, and for offering their support and underlining the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Expresses hope for Taiwan to sign an economic partnership agreement with the European Union, which would give businesses on both sides a better investment environment and more business opportunities.
2024-06-13 In an interview with Time magazine, responds to questions regarding diplomacy, cross-strait relations, the semiconductor industry, and Taiwan’s domestic economic development.
2024-06-13 Meets with a delegation led by former United States Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger. States that the new government will actively implement the Four Pillars of Peace action plan and that we will work closely with the US and other like-minded countries to become stronger and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. 
2024-06-11 Approves the Executive Yuan’s request for a reconsideration of amendments to the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power, as well as to the Criminal Code of the Republic of China. Expresses hope that all political parties in the Legislative Yuan will carefully reexamine the content of the bills and seek consensus that is both legal and constitutional while prioritizing national interests.
2024-06-03 Meets with a delegation led by International Peace Foundation (IPF) Founder and Chairman Uwe Morawetz. Thanks the IPF for coming to Taiwan to promote the Taiwan BRIDGES event series with National Taiwan University. Says the program will not only benefit Taiwan’s scholars, but also deepen our international connections and enhance our global reach.
2024-06-01 Meets with members of Taiwan’s World Health Assembly (WHA) action team. States that standing on the front lines, the team fought for the human right to health for both Taiwan and the world. Also thanks the international community for their support for Taiwan. Says that one of the new government’s goals is to create a healthier Taiwan, as we want our people to live longer and healthier, and that we want to leverage Taiwan’s strengths in public health and medicine. States that we will continue to deepen our partnerships with other countries.
2024-05-31 Nominates Chou Hung-hsien (周弘憲) and Hsu Shu-hsiang (許舒翔), as well as seven people, Chiau Wen-yan (邱文彥), Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基), Wang Hsiu-hung (王秀紅), Lu Chiu-hui (呂秋慧), Ker Li-ling (柯麗鈴), Huang Tong-yi (黃東益), and Iwan Nawi (伊萬.納威), as 14th-term Examination Yuan President, Vice President, and members, respectively and officially requests confirmation by the legislature.
2024-05-29 Meets with a bipartisan United States congressional delegation led by Senator Tammy Duckworth. In remarks, thanks the members of the delegation for contributing much to the deepening of Taiwan-US relations. States that thanks to their support, such legislation as the annual National Defense Authorization Act and the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act that was passed the previous month have included initiatives and resources related to Taiwan. Expresses hope that Taiwan and the US, through closer cooperation and exchanges, can contribute even more to regional prosperity and development.
2024-05-27 Meets with a bipartisan United States congressional delegation led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul. In remarks, states that the new administration will uphold the Four Commitments and actively implement the Four Pillars of Peace action plan, and that Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries. Expresses hope that Congress will continue to assist Taiwan in strengthening our self-defense capabilities through legislative action, and that the Taiwan-US double taxation issue will be resolved swiftly.
2024-05-23 Travels to Taoyuan to visit the ROC Marine Corps’ 66th Brigade for the first time in the capacity of commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Encourages the troops to persevere in their streamlined and diligent training, and achieve their mission objectives. States that he will continue to advance national defense reform, enhance overall combat capabilities, and ensure that our military personnel receive even better care, showing the world our determination to protect democratic Taiwan.
2024-05-22 Meets with delegations led by President Hilda C. Heine of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and her husband, Prime Minister Feleti Teo of Tuvalu and his wife, and Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre of Saint Lucia. Also meets with former President Dalia Grybauskaitė of the Republic of Lithuania, a delegation led by Prime Minister Geoffrey Hanley of Saint Christopher and Nevis, a delegation from the Republic of Somaliland to the presidential inauguration, a delegation from Singapore to the inauguration, and Republic of Haiti Ambassador Roudy Stanley Penn.
2024-05-21 Witnesses the signing of joint communiqués on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Palau and Saint Christopher and Nevis, as well as between Palau and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in anticipation of working together to support one another, and with the global democratic community, continuing to jointly safeguard democracy, freedom, and peace.
2024-05-21 Holds bilateral talks with King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini and witnesses the signing of a bilateral joint statement, a memorandum of understanding regarding the establishment of a digital commerce initiative, and a memorandum of cooperation between the central banks of Taiwan and Eswatini.
2024-05-21 Meets with delegations led by President Santiago Peña Palacios of the Republic of Paraguay, President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. of the Republic of Palau and his wife, Prime Minister John Briceño of Belize, and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and his wife. Also meets with papal envoy and Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown, a delegation led by 70th United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, the United Kingdom Trade Envoy to Taiwan and a delegation from the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group to the presidential inauguration, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Ramiro Martínez of the Republic of Guatemala. In addition, meets with President Bernardo Arévalo of Guatemala via videoconference.
2024-05-20 Meets with Nippon Foundation Chairman Sasakawa Yohei, Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association President Tanizaki Yasuaki, a delegation from the United States to the presidential inauguration, wife of late Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan Abe Akie, and a delegation from Canada to the inauguration. On the same day, hosts a luncheon for a Japanese Diet delegation to the inauguration with Vice President Bi-khim Hsiao.
2024-05-20 Sworn in as the 16th-term president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and delivers an inaugural address. Together with Vice President Bi-khim Hsiao, receives congratulations from heads of state, special envoys, and high-ranking government officials of diplomatic allies and friendly nations.
President Lai
Vice President Hsiao
Presidents since 1947
Vice Presidents since 1947
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