Taiwan candidate chooses ex-Google executive as running mate

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The pro-China opposition candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election set for early next year has chosen a former Google executive as his running mate.

Chang San-cheng, a political independent, on Monday joined the ticket of Nationalist Party candidate Han Kuo-yu, who lags behind Democratic Progressive Party incumbent Tsai Ing-wen in most polls. Cheng is an engineer who received master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford and Cornell universities in the United States.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has sought to isolate Tsai for her independence-leaning positions. The sides split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing has threatened to use military force to bring the self-governing, democratic island under its control.

Chang served briefly as Cabinet chief in the administration of Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, who was favored by Beijing for his policies promoting integration between the sides.

Chang worked as search engine Google’s head of technology in Asia from 2010 to 2012.

The presidential election is scheduled for Jan. 11, along with polls for the legislature.

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