Asia

Taiwan president apologizes to aboriginals for suffering

In this June 29, 2016 photo, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen talks during a ceremony at the Gen. Andres Rodriguez school in Asuncion, Paraguay. Tsai on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016 apologized on behalf of the government to the island's aboriginal peoples for 400 years of conquest and colonization, saying the facing of difficult historical facts was necessary for society to move forward. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

In this June 29, 2016 photo, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen talks during a ceremony at the Gen. Andres Rodriguez school in Asuncion, Paraguay. Tsai on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016 apologized on behalf of the government to the island's aboriginal peoples for 400 years of conquest and colonization, saying the facing of difficult historical facts was necessary for society to move forward. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)  (The Associated Press)

Taiwan's president has apologized on behalf of the government to the island's aboriginal peoples for 400 years of conquest and colonization.

Tsai Ing-wen said Monday it was necessary for the government to face up to past injustices in order for Taiwan to move ahead as a fair and equitable society.

Taiwan was inhabited by a variety of tribes for thousands of years before Dutch colonizers began importing Chinese laborers in the 17th century.

Tsai was elected by a landslide in January elections that have thrown a shadow over the island's relations with China, which claims Taiwan as a part of its territory from ancient times. Her view of Taiwan as a colonial society clashes with Beijing's claim that the island has always been an inherent part of China.