World

2 women to vie for Taiwan presidency for 1st time; island's ties with China campaign issue

  • Backed by the ruling Nationalist Party members, Hung Hsiu-chu, a former teacher and current deputy legislative speaker, waves as she is nominated as the party's candidate in the January presidential election, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Taipei, Taiwan. The top two political parties in Taiwan have each nominated a woman for president in 2016, a historic first signaling acceptance of female leadership and kicking off a campaign highlighted so far by clashing views on ties with political rival China. Hung supportive of friendly relations with China will run against Tsai Ing-wen, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and an advocate of more cautious relations with Beijing. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

    Backed by the ruling Nationalist Party members, Hung Hsiu-chu, a former teacher and current deputy legislative speaker, waves as she is nominated as the party's candidate in the January presidential election, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Taipei, Taiwan. The top two political parties in Taiwan have each nominated a woman for president in 2016, a historic first signaling acceptance of female leadership and kicking off a campaign highlighted so far by clashing views on ties with political rival China. Hung supportive of friendly relations with China will run against Tsai Ing-wen, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and an advocate of more cautious relations with Beijing. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 15, 2015 file photo, Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen speaks in Taipei, Taiwan. The top two political parties in Taiwan have each nominated a woman for president in 2016, a historic first signaling acceptance of female leadership and kicking off a campaign highlighted so far by clashing views on ties with political rival China. Tsai, an advocate of more cautious relations with Beijing, leads in opinion polls ahead of the January 2016 election. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)

    FILE - In this April 15, 2015 file photo, Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen speaks in Taipei, Taiwan. The top two political parties in Taiwan have each nominated a woman for president in 2016, a historic first signaling acceptance of female leadership and kicking off a campaign highlighted so far by clashing views on ties with political rival China. Tsai, an advocate of more cautious relations with Beijing, leads in opinion polls ahead of the January 2016 election. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Backed by the ruling Nationalist Party members, Hung Hsiu-chu, a former teacher and current deputy legislative speaker, waves a flag as she is nominated as the party's candidate in the January presidential election, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Taipei, Taiwan. The top two political parties in Taiwan have each nominated a woman for president in 2016, a historic first signaling acceptance of female leadership and kicking off a campaign highlighted so far by clashing views on ties with political rival China. Hung supportive of friendly relations with China will run against Tsai Ing-wen, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and an advocate of more cautious relations with Beijing. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

    Backed by the ruling Nationalist Party members, Hung Hsiu-chu, a former teacher and current deputy legislative speaker, waves a flag as she is nominated as the party's candidate in the January presidential election, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Taipei, Taiwan. The top two political parties in Taiwan have each nominated a woman for president in 2016, a historic first signaling acceptance of female leadership and kicking off a campaign highlighted so far by clashing views on ties with political rival China. Hung supportive of friendly relations with China will run against Tsai Ing-wen, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and an advocate of more cautious relations with Beijing. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)  (The Associated Press)

Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party has picked a former teacher and current deputy legislative speaker to run in next year's presidential election. She will face off against another female candidate in a historic first.

Taiwan, democratic since the late 1980s, has never elected a woman president nor had a choice between two female candidates backed by the major parties.

The Nationalists on Sunday picked Hung Hsiu-chu. She will run against Tsai Ing-wen, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and an advocate of a more cautious attitude to Taiwan's rival, China. Tsai leads in polls ahead of the January 2016 election.

Ties with Beijing have shaped up as an early campaign issue.

Beijing claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and insists that the two sides eventually reunite.