Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te, the front-runner in January’s presidential election, named the democratic island’s former envoy to the United States as his running mate on Monday, as a tie-up agreement by his top two rivals for the presidency crumbled.

Lai, 64, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate, wrote on his Facebook page that he would tap Hsiao Bi-khim, 52, a fluent English speaker who had been Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the United States since 2020 and has deep ties to Washington, to join him on the DPP ticket.

"I believe that Bi-khim is definitely an excellent person when it comes to Taiwan's diplomatic work today, and she is a rare diplomatic talent in our country," Lai wrote.