• Directory of Taiwan

Lai announces Hsiao as running mate for Taiwan presidency

'Cat warrior' warns that other side of Taiwan Strait is changing status quo

Lai Ching-te (left) and Hsiao Bi-khim hold arms up as she is announced as his running mate on Nov. 20. 

Lai Ching-te (left) and Hsiao Bi-khim hold arms up as she is announced as his running mate on Nov. 20.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Monday (Nov. 20) announced that Taiwan's former envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) will be his running mate for the 2024 Taiwanese presidential election.

At 9 a.m., Hsiao reported to Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) to formally tender her resignation as the representative to the U.S. This was followed by an official announcement by Lai at 3 p.m. that Hsiao would run on his ticket as the DPP vice presidential candidate.

With only 54 days left before the election, Lai held a live broadcast on Facebook to announce his choice of Hsiao as his running mate. When Hsiao took the podium, she declared "I am Hsiao Bi-khim, and I am back" and added in Taiwanese, "For the sake of our country, I will go all in."

Hsiao said that in the past few years, her mission in the U.S. was assigned by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and she considered it her best "combat position." She said that she devoted herself wholeheartedly.

For three years and four months, Hsiao said that she and her team at the representative office worked hard to make Taiwan-U.S. relations more smooth, and they tried their best to fulfill the responsibilities they were entrusted with. When Lai invited her to be his running mate, she said she contemplated whether to stay in her familiar position or embrace challenges in a new role.

Hsiao said that in 2010, she also faced a difficult choice by deciding to participate in a by-election in Hualien County. In the following decade, despite the challenging political environment, she said she felt the warmth of the people in Hualien.

According to Hsiao, her close connection to the land, years of sweat, and experiences became the nourishment for her growth. Despite triumphs and setbacks, Hsiao said the tears shed by her supporters when she lost in 2020 fueled her.

She described herself as a "cat warrior" and jokingly told Lai that everyone in the campaign headquarters seemed to be dogs. The envoy said that diplomacy is akin to the steps of a cat — gentle but firm.

During her tenure in the U.S., Hsiao said she stood firm, handled issues prudently, balanced complex strategies, and maximized Taiwan-U.S. relations. She also garnered support for Taiwan's international participation from like-minded nations, she added.

However, after the Russo-Ukrainian War started, the situation in the Taiwan Strait once again attracted international attention. Although the world sought to maintain the status quo, the status quo is being changed by the other side of the Taiwan Strait, said Hsiao.

She said she is aware of the anxiety felt by many recently. Whether Taiwan can maintain its democratic values ​​will have a profound impact not only on Taiwan but also on the world, she said.

These changes also made her realize that there is no longer room for evasion, she added.

Hsiao said that she tendered her resignation as envoy to the U.S. to devote herself to the election campaign. She also vowed to bring her experiences from every position she has held in the past to enable the Taiwanese to go further.

She expressed her gratitude to the people of Taiwan for their trust and willingness. She also thanked Lai for selecting her.

Born in 1971 to a Taiwanese father and an American mother in Kobe, Japan, Hsiao grew up in Tainan, Taiwan before moving to the U.S. as a teenager. After graduating from Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, she obtained a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Political Science from Columbia University.

Once a dual Taiwan-U.S. citizen, she renounced her U.S. citizenship to serve in the Legislative Yuan from 2002 to 2008 and again from 2012 to 2020. She was named as the advisor to the National Security Council in March 2020 and became Taiwan's first female representative to the U.S. in July 2020.