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Legislative Speaker Wang attends S. Korea president's inauguration

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese delegation led by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng yesterday attended the inauguration of South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-hye.

Wang, representing President Ma Ying-jeou at the inauguration, told local media in Seoul that he was invited by South Korean authorities to join the ceremony.

He said he hoped that the trip would be beneficial and enhance bilateral ties between Taiwan and South Korea.

Other than attending the ceremony, Wang and the delegation, which arrived in Seoul Sunday evening, also met with overseas Taiwanese compatriots at a tea party hosted by Taiwan's representative office.

The delegation was joined by both ruling and opposition lawmakers, including Lin Te-fu (林德福) and Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), representing the ruling Kuomintang, Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉), of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, and Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪), of the People First Party.

Park was elected last year after promising to fix the country's slowing economy and work for peace with North Korea.

The delegation's attendance at the inauguration goes some way to suggest improving ties between Taipei and Seoul.

At the last South Korean presidential inauguration in 2008, the South Korean government barred certain Taiwanese representatives from attending, reportedly due to pressure from China.

In 2008, the South Korean government initially agreed to a Taiwanese delegation; however, Seoul later barred two candidates: Mark Chen, then head of the National Security Council, and Wang. In the end, no Taiwanese representatives attended.

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