Taiwan presidential front-runner picks former de-facto ambassador to U.S. as vice president candidate
The front-runner in Taiwan’s presidential race has picked the long-term de-facto ambassador to the United States as his vice presidential candidate.
Vice President William Lai announced Monday on his Facebook page the nomination of Hsiao Bi-ki – who was born in Japan to a Taiwanese father and an American mother – as his running mate in January’s elections. This move would likely bolster support among backers of his ruling Democratic Progressive Party which has long defied Beijing’s demands to concede to rule under the authoritarian Communist Party.
Lai and Hsiao face a divided opposition, led by the Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang or KMT, that has sought to draw independent candidates to their ticket. Polls show Lai is ahead, but China is believed to be seeking to influence business groups and media.
Lai currently serves as vice president to President Tsai Ing-wen, who is restricted from running for a third four-year term. In his Facebook post, Tsai said Hsiao had been crucial to co-operation with the U.S., Taiwan’s chief ally.
“This team, following President Tsai’s eight years in power, is completely prepared to withstand all challenges, both domestically and from China,” Lai’s post said.