Taiwan’s Ex-Ambassador to US Aims for VP Role with Presidential Hopeful Lai

Former US diplomat Hsiao Bi-khim has registered her candidacy for vice president, joining presidential hopeful William Lai in a bid for Taiwan’s upcoming election in 2024.

Hsiao in the Running

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Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s former envoy to the United States, has officially registered as a running mate and vice-president for the current vice president, William Lai. Due to Hsiao’s past hostile relationship with Beijing, the ambitious political bid has stirred up international interest.

Former Ambassador to Potential VP

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From 2020 onward Hsiao served as the de facto ambassador to the US, before resigning last week to pursue the vice-presidential candidacy. Before that, she was a legislator for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Pro-Taiwan Stance

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Hsiao is firmly pro-Taiwan as an independent state and is well-known in her country for her strong social media presence. She currently has over 150,000 followers across different platforms and regularly makes posts promoting the DPP and pro-Taiwan causes.

Big Announcement

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She announced her candidacy to her online followers on Tuesday, saying, “Back in Taiwan! Honored to join @ChingteLai on the ticket as VP for 2024. Tough road ahead expected as I shoulder a heavier burden. Taiwan’s democracy deserves our best efforts.”

Beijing Won’t Be Happy

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Beijing reviles Hsiao and her running-mate Lai due to their stance on a democratic and independent Taiwan, so her candidacy is likely to rile the CPP. Hsiao has been sanctioned twice by Beijing, describing her as a “diehard secessionist.”

An Unofficial Visit

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Earlier this year she visited the US unofficially with President Tsai Ing-wen. In response, Beijing also formally banned Hsiao from visiting China, Macau, and Hong Kong.

Beijing vs DPP

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The DPP holds contradictory views over Taiwan’s relationship with China. While Beijing sees Taiwan as a territory of China, the DPP believes the opposite and has stated that it is for the people of Taiwan to dictate the island’s future.

A Fitting Partnership

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Many see Hsiao as an ideal partner for Lai, who is ahead of both Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou You-ih and independent Taiwan People’s Party candidate Ko Wen-je in polling. 

The Natural Choice for VP

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“Hsiao as Lai’s VP is a natural choice for the DPP,” writes Lev Nachman, a political scientist and author of “Taiwan: A Contested Democracy Under Threat.” “After Tsai, she’s done more internationally for Taiwan’s hard and soft power than any other politician, She’s trusted in DC (arguably more than Lai).”  

A “Perfect Match”

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Politicians in the DPP have also praised the pairing, calling it a “perfect match” that would only strengthen Lai’s ambitions and boost his campaign.

Her Running-Mate Voices Support

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Lai himself has spoken out in praise of Hsiao, taking online to write, “I believe Bi-khim is definitely the best person when it comes to Taiwan’s foreign work today and she is also a rare diplomatic talent.”

The Youth Agree

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And it’s not just those in politics who think so. Hsiao is a popular choice for younger voters due to her pro-Taiwan stance, as younger generations have begun to embrace a stronger Taiwanese identity separate from mainland China.

Doing It the Taiwanese Way

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Not only is Hsiao vocal in her support for the DPP and their stance on the Taiwan-China relationship, but her political views are even reflected in her name. The politician chooses to use the Taiwanese pronunciation of her name instead of the more common Mandarin Chinese pronunciation.

Joint Candidacy Fail

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Her candidacy was announced shortly after the candidates for the two major opposition parties, Hou You-ih and Ko Wen-je, failed to form a joint candidacy that might challenge Lai’s ongoing popularity.

Election Incoming

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Hsiao’s candidacy comes less than a week before the impending Nov 24 cut-off date for registration. The presidential election is set for January 2024. 

The post Taiwan’s Ex-Ambassador to US Aims for VP Role with Presidential Hopeful Lai first appeared on Wealthy Living.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / jamesonwu1972.  The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.