US President George W. Bush began his second term in office at the White House yesterday after vowing in a tough inauguration speech to overthrow tyranny and spread freedom and democracy to the "darkest corners" of the world. \n"I'm looking forward to putting my heart and soul to make this country as promising a place as it can be and the world as peaceful a place as it can possibly be," Bush said late on Thursday at one of nine inaugural balls he and first lady Laura Bush visited before returning to the White House. \nAmid the pomp and ceremony of the 55th US presidential inauguration -- the first since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks -- thousands of protesters joined cheering well-wishers on Thursday along Bush's route from his swearing-in at the Capitol back to the White House. \n"It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," Bush said. \nIn a televised speech moments after taking the oath of office under an unprecedented security blanket, Bush warned "the rulers of outlaw regimes" to ease restrictions on dissent and declared that victory over terrorism required promoting freedom around the globe. \nDemonstrators jeered or turned their backs as his armored limousine led a slow convoy down Pennsylvania Avenue, some waving signs that read "Guilty of War Crimes" or "In fighting monsters, we are becoming one." \nWhile Bush did not single out any countries for criticism, Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran was "right at the top of the list." Other aides have mentioned Belarus, Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea and Zimbabwe. \n"As long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny, prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder, violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders and raise a mortal threat," Cheney said. \nBush, his first term scarred by terrorism and marked by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, mentioned none of those crises by name as he offered conciliatory words to allies who broke with Washington over whether to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. \n"All the allies of the United States can know: We honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help," Bush said. \nBush, who has the worst approval ratings of any reelected president since Richard Nixon in 1973, told the polarized US public: "We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes, and I will strive in good faith to heal them." \nFirst lady Laura Bush and twin daughters Barbara and Jenna stood at Bush's side as he swore on the steps of the US Capitol to defend the US and uphold the Constitution. \nBush said spreading freedom was "not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary." \nWith his trademark optimism, Bush spoke of a fire that had been kindled in many people's minds, and vowed that "one day, this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world." \nAlso see stories: \nWhite House denies Taiwan snub \nAsian allies have `qualified' praise for George W. Bush \nBush speech idealist, sparse on detail
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.