TAIPEI, Taiwan: In a significant development, Taiwan’s Vice President, Lai Ching-te, declared his selection for a running mate in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for January.
Lai chose Hsiao Bi-khim, the island’s former envoy to the United States, as his running mate. Hsiao Bi-khim, who has been serving as Taipei’s de facto ambassador to the U.S. since 2020, is recognized as a seasoned and well-connected diplomat adept at navigating the complex geopolitical landscape between Washington and Beijing.
Lai expressed confidence in Hsiao Bi-khim, citing her role in fostering unprecedented closeness in Taiwan-U.S. relations over the past few years. In a Facebook post, Lai praised her as a leader in Taiwan’s diplomatic efforts and a rare talent in the country’s diplomatic landscape. The move is seen as strategic, aiming to leverage Hsiao’s diplomatic expertise and connections to strengthen Taiwan’s global position.
Simultaneously, Taiwan’s foreign ministry officially accepted Hsiao Bi-khim’s resignation from her role as the representative to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington. This development underscores the significance of her new role in Taiwan’s political landscape.
It’s worth noting that Hsiao Bi-khim has faced sanctions from Beijing in the past, with China viewing her as an “independence diehard.” Tensions persist between China and Taiwan, as Beijing considers the self-ruled island part of its territory and has expressed intentions to reunify, even by force if necessary.
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As Taiwan prepares for the upcoming election, Lai and Hsiao’s partnership is expected to play a crucial role in navigating the complex international dynamics surrounding the island, particularly in managing relations with the United States and addressing the persistent threat from China.