(b. 15 Jan. 1923).
President of Taiwan (Republic of China) 1988–2000 Born in Taipei, he studied at Kyoto University (Japan) during World War II, finished his degree at the National Taiwan University in 1948, and obtained a doctorate in agricultural economics from Cornell University (USA). A member of the Guomindang, he became a university teacher before being appointed Minister of State in 1972. He became Mayor of Taipei in 1978, and Governor of Taiwan Province in 1981. In 1984, Chiang Ching-kuo appointed him Vice-President and his designated successor. Against fierce opposition from a number of hardline members within the Guomindang, he was the first ethnic Taiwanese to be elected to the presidency. He continued his predecessor's reforms of political liberalization. On the all-important question of relations with mainland China, he steered a difficult course, assisting the country in its transition to become an internationally recognized, self-confident state, while also authorizing a dialogue with Deng's Communist government about possible reunification, and increasing trade between the two countries. He was confirmed in office by parliament in 1990, and in 1996 he won the country's first popular presidential elections. He resigned the chairmanship of the KMT when the party lost the elections for his successor in 2000.
Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).