TAIPEI - Mr Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple supplier Foxconn, has no plans for now to visit China, he said on Tuesday (April 18) while announcing 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 it regards as a renegade province to be reunified by force if necessary.
Mr Gou, who is one of Taiwan’s most recognisable faces, launched a second bid in April for the presidential ticket of the opposition Kuomintang, which traditionally favours close ties with China.
“I don’t have this plan for the time being,” said Mr Gou, 72, 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.
The news conference followed Mr Gou’s return in April from Japan, preceded in March by a visit to the United States as part of a campaign tour.
Mr Gou, who stepped down as Foxconn chief in 2019, has failed to win the opposition party’s presidential nomination once before.
Mr Ma, also of the KMT, is the first former Taiwanese president to ever visit China, on a historic trip that concluded in April.
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 has already chosen current Vice-President William Lai as its presidential candidate, the KMT has yet to do so.