Former diplomat Hsiao Bi-khim is formalizing his run for vice president as the November 24 deadline for candidates approaches.
The outspoken former ambassador of Taiwan to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, has formally registered his candidacy as vice president and running mate of William Lai in the upcoming 2024 election on the island.
Hsiao, 52, a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator, served as Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US from 2020 until his resignation this week.
His tenure in Washington, DC coincides with renewed US interest in Taiwan thanks to its early battle with COVID-19 and an ongoing standoff with Beijing at a time when US-China relations are deteriorating.
Hsiao, a self-described “cat warrior” who often poses with her cats, is also known for her active presence on social media platforms such as X, where she has amassed 133,000 followers promoting of the DPP’s pro-Taiwan stance.
“Go back to Taiwan! Honored to participate @ChingteLai on the ticket as VP for 2024. A tough road ahead is expected as I shoulder a heavier burden. Taiwan’s democracy deserves our best efforts,” he posted on Tuesday.
Like Lai, the current vice president, Hsiao is despised in Beijing for his political stance on Taiwan and its relationship with China. In April, Beijing formally banned him from visiting China, Hong Kong and Macau after he accompanied President Tsai Ing-wen on his unofficial trip to the US.
Beijing claims Taipei as its own territory and has not ruled out using force to achieve its goals. The DPP says that only the people of Taiwan can decide the future of their island.
Despite drawing the ire of Beijing, Hsiao is popular with young voters and is seen as a breath of fresh air compared to some of his counterparts. Reflecting the rise of Taiwanese identity across the island and diaspora, Hsiao uses the Taiwanese pronunciation of his name instead of Mandarin, China’s dominant language.
The media boost to Lai’s presidential campaign comes with the opposition in apparent disarray just days from the November 24 registration deadline.
Last week, Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou You-ih and independent Taiwan People’s Party candidate Ko Wen-je appeared ready to upset the election by teaming up and putting up the most formidable challenge yet. to Lai, who voted first among the two candidates.
Hsiao as Lai’s VP was a natural choice for the DPP:
1. After Tsai, he has done more internationally for hard and soft power in Taiwan than any politician (maybe more than Lai)
2. DC trusts him (more than Lai)
3. Pan-green voters mostly support him https://t.co/3bgsgUMJ7t
— Lev Nachman (@lnachman32) November 20, 2023
Within days, the plan was abandoned after the two parties could not agree on who would run for president after a disastrous internal poll attempt. The two parties were forced to walk back on a deal brokered by former President Ma Ying-jeou.
Ko, the former mayor of Taipei, is popular with Taiwanese voters who are tired of the island’s two-party political system or want something new after eight years of the DPP.
Hou, a former police officer and mayor, offers stability to the KMT, a party known for better labor relations with Beijing, and remains popular among Taiwanese businessmen and families who fled China in the 1940s. .
They have not yet revealed their choice of running mate.
Running a distant fourth place is independent Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of iPhone maker Foxconn, whose support remains in the single digits.
The election is scheduled for January.