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Who is Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s new President?

Lai Ching-te, a former doctor from a poor mining family, was propelled into politics by a military crisis in the Taiwan Strait 27 years ago.

Now, the soft-spoken political veteran is tasked with preventing another one from happening as the newly elected leader of the self-ruled island that China’s Communist Party has vowed to one day absorb.

On Saturday, Lai, 64, the current vice president from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won a widely watched election to become Taiwan’s next president.

His victory handed the DPP a historic third consecutive term, delivering a snub to years of growing threats from Taiwan’s much-larger authoritarian neighbor, China.

“The election has shown the world the commitment of the Taiwanese people to democracy, which I hope China can understand,” Lai told thousands of jubilant supporters at a rally after his win.

Lai, who has long faced Beijing’s wrath for championing Taiwan’s sovereignty, said as president he has “an important responsibility to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” pledging to pursue dialogue with China under the principles of dignity and parity.