William Lai, the frontrunner for the presidency in Taiwan’s 2024 election, has named Hsiao Bi-khim, the self-ruled island’s former envoy to the United States, as his running mate.
Lai, the candidate for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the man leading most opinion polls ahead of the January 13 election, said 52-year-old Hsiao was the right person for the job.
In a post on his Facebook page, Lai said he would formally present Hsiao as his running mate on Monday afternoon.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs 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 said.
“I am confident that, together with Bi-khim, we will succeed in the final 50 days to unite the consensus of the people and unite all forces to win the election, and allow Taiwan to continue to grow on a steady path forward.”
Taiwan is heading to the polls at a time when Beijing has become increasingly assertive in its claims to the democratic island, which it says is part of China. It has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal.
The DPP, which won power in 2016 under President Tsai Ing-wen, has said it is up to Taiwan’s people to choose their future.
Like Lai, Hsiao is despised by China, which has twice placed sanctions on her, most recently in April, calling her an “independence die-hard”.