Lai Ching-te, the frontrunner for Taiwan's presidency, has picked Taipei's envoy to the United States — a fluent English speaker with deep connections in Washington — to be his running mate for January's election, sources with direct knowledge said.

Lai, vice president and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, has almost consistently led opinion polls ahead of an election taking place amid increased Chinese pressure on Taiwan to accept Beijing's sovereignty claims.

Hsiao Bi-khim, 52, who has been Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the United States since 2020, has been considered by party officials, diplomats and Taiwanese media for months to be the most likely running mate for Lai.