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William Lai eyes Taiwan's presidency as new leader of ruling DPP

U.S. 'unsure' of how potential presidential candidate might approach China

Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te on Jan. 18 also became leader of the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party.     © Reuters

TAIPEI -- Lai Ching-te, whose coal miner father died while he was a toddler, took over as leader of Taiwan's ruling party on Wednesday, promising to address voter dissatisfaction and push through reforms ahead of a presidential election in less than 12 months.

The front-runner to become the Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate is known as a fierce defender of Taiwan's self-governing status -- a popular stance for much of the island's electorate. Yet Lai faces a massive challenge in preparing for the big vote, if he indeed makes it that far.

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