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Foxconn Founder, Seeking Taiwan Presidency, Has No Plan to Visit China

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple Inc supplier Foxconn, has no plan for now to visit China, he said on Tuesday, in his bid to become the presidential nominee of Taiwan’s main opposition party.

Tension between Taipei and Beijing has surged in the run-up to January’s election, as China stages regular military exercises near the island to assert sovereignty claims that Taiwan’s democratically elected government rejects.

Gou, who is one of Taiwan’s most recognisable faces, launched a second bid this month for the presidential ticket of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), which traditionally favours close ties with China.

“I don’t have this plan for the time being,” Gou, 72, said at a news conference in the capital, Taipei, when asked whether he would follow former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and go to China.

“But, anything beneficial for the Republic of China, anything beneficial for cross-Strait peace, anything beneficial for trade and economic exchanges across the Strait, I will do what I can to promote it and implement it,” he added, referring to Taiwan by its formal name.

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The news conference followed Gou’s return this month from Japan, preceded last month by a visit to the United States as part of a campaign tour.

Gou, who stepped down as Foxconn chief in 2019, has failed to win the opposition party’s presidential nomination once before.

Ma, also of the KMT, is the first former Taiwanese president to ever visit China, on a historic trip concluded this month.

Since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists, no incumbent leader of the island has visited China.

While Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has already chosen current Vice President William Lai as its presidential candidate, the KMT has yet to do so.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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