The leading candidate in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election has chosen the longtime de-facto ambassador to the United States as his running mate. Vice President William Lai made the announcement on his Facebook page, naming Hsiao Bi-ki, who was born in Japan to a Taiwanese father and an American mother, as his vice presidential candidate for the January elections. This selection is expected to garner support from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which has consistently resisted Beijing’s demand to submit to the rule of the authoritarian Communist Party.
Lai and Hsiao will face off against a divided opposition, led by the Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang or KMT. The KMT has attempted to attract independent candidates to their ticket. While polls indicate that Lai is in the lead, there are concerns that China may try to influence business groups and media to sway the outcome.
Currently serving as vice president to President Tsai Ing-wen, Lai’s nomination of Hsiao highlights her crucial role in facilitating cooperation with the United States, Taiwan’s primary ally. In his Facebook post, Lai emphasized that this team, following Tsai’s eight-year tenure, is fully prepared to confront all challenges, both domestic and from China.