Front-runner for Taiwan’s presidency names former US envoy as running mate
Hsiao Bi-khim, who had been Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US since 2020, has deep connections in Washington but is hated by China
Taipei — Lai Ching-te, the front-runner for Taiwan’s presidency, named on Monday Taipei’s former envoy to the US as his running mate in January’s election.
Lai, vice-president and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate, has almost consistently led opinion polls ahead of the election, which is taking place amid increased Chinese pressure on Taiwan to accept Beijing’s sovereignty claims.
His running mate, Hsiao Bi-khim, 52, who had been Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US since 2020, has deep connections in Washington but is hated by China. Hsiao had been widely considered to the most likely running mate for Lai.
In a post on his Facebook page, Lai said he would formally present Hsiao as his running mate on Monday afternoon. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had accepted her resignation.
“I believe that Bi-khim is definitely an excellent person when it comes to Taiwan’s diplomatic work today, and she is a rare diplomatic talent in our country,” Lai added.
Like Lai, Hsiao is detested by China, which has on two occasions placed sanctions on her, most recently in April, saying she is an “independence diehard”.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday referred to Lai and Hsiao as an “independence double act” and that Taiwan’s people are “very clear” about what them teaming up means for the “situation in the Taiwan Strait”. It did not elaborate.
The DPP champions Taiwan’s separate identity from China. The DPP-led government says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future and has repeatedly offered talks with Beijing but been rebuffed.
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