Veteran politician Su Tseng-chang has been elected chairman of Taiwan's main opposition party.

A lawyer by training and a former premier, Su takes a more pragmatic attitude toward China than many colleagues in the Democratic Progressive Party who support Taiwan's formal independence.

Su was elected Sunday after the previous party chief stepped down after losing the island's presidential election in January to incumbent Ma Ying-jeou.

Many Taiwanese voters back Ma's efforts to improve relations with China.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory and has accused the opposition party of seeking formal independence.