Hsiao Bi-khim, the former envoy to the United States of Taiwan, has been chosen by William Lai as his running mate for the presidency in Taiwan’s 2024 election.
52-year-old Hsiao was the best candidate for the position, according to Lai, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate and the man leading most opinion polls prior to the January 13 election.
Lai announced that he would officially introduce Hsiao as his running mate on Monday afternoon in a Facebook post.
Her resignation has been accepted, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bi-khim is a rare diplomatic talent in our nation, and I think she is an excellent person in terms of Taiwan’s current diplomatic work, according to Lai.
“I am confident that, working with Bi-khim, we will be successful in the final 50 days in bringing the people’s consensus and all the forces together to win the election and keep Taiwan moving forward steadily.”
Beijing’s claims to the democratic island, which it claims is a part of China, have grown more assertive as Taiwan approaches the polls. It still allows for the use of force to accomplish its objectives.
The DPP, which was elected president in 2016 by Tsai Ing-wen, has stated that Taiwan’s citizens must make their own decisions regarding their future.
China despises Hsiao, just like Lai, and has sanctioned her twice, most recently in April, calling her an “independence die-hard.”
Lai and Hsiao were referred to as an “independence double act” by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office last week, and it was also stated that Taiwanese citizens were “very clear” about the implications of their partnership for the “situation in the Taiwan Strait.” It didn’t go into detail.
After Lai returned from a quick trip to the US in August, China conducted military drills all around Taiwan. Exercises, according to the Chinese military, are “a serious warning against Taiwan independence separatist forces colluding with external forces to provoke.”
In 2020, Hsiao assumed the role of Taipei’s de facto ambassador to the US. He is a well-connected diplomat who is skilled at mediating between Beijing and Washington in terms of geopolitical tensions.
Hsiao is a “formidable politician,” according to Rupert Hammond-Chammond, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, who has known her since the 1990s and would give Lai’s ticket much-needed diplomatic and security weight.
If President Lai is elected, “Bi-khim’s relationships in [Washington] DC will be extremely important to him. He told the Reuters news agency that he doesn’t have any of those relationships and that she will bring them all into his government.
Despite having no official ties to Taipei, the US is the island’s main foreign supporter and supplier of weapons.
In contrast to Taiwan’s two main opposition parties’ attempts to come to an agreement on a joint ticket, the DPP handled its election candidates with ease.
After initially agreeing to work together, the Kuomintang (KMT), the largest opposition party that traditionally favors closer ties with Beijing, and the smaller Taiwan People’s Party are at odds over who should run for president and vice president.
This Friday is the deadline for the election commission to register presidential candidates.
Hsiao, who was born in Japan to a Taiwanese father and an American mother, first held the position of party lawmaker before working for then-President Chen Shui-bian of the DPP.