Taiwan hopeful picks running mate
TAIPEI, Taiwan — 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-khim — who was born in Japan to a Taiwanese father and an American mother — as his running mate in January’s elections. His choice would likely bolster support among backers of his ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which has long defied Beijing’s demands to return the island under the rule of 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. 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 cooperation 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.