Foxconn founder Terry Gou vows to 'preserve peace' with China if elected Taiwan president

Mr Terry Gou attending a campaign rally in Kaohsiung on May 7, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan) The billionaire founder of Foxconn vowed on Sunday at a rally that if elected president of Taiwan, he would be able to “preserve peace” between the democratic self-ruled island and China.

Taiwan will elect its next leader in January 2024 to succeed President Tsai Ing-wen, whose two terms in power have been marked by unprecedented tensions with Beijing.

China regards the island as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary. 

Mr Terry Gou, whose semiconductor giant Foxconn is a key supplier of Apple’s iPhones, announced in April that he planned to seek the presidential nomination of the Kuomintang (KMT), Taiwan’s China-friendly opposition party.

At his first rally in the southern city of Kaohsiung – traditionally a stronghold of Ms Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) – Mr Gou urged his supporters to “let me preserve peace”.

“The last two years, what I have seen is a government that cannot see the sufferings of the people,” the 72-year-old said in a speech to more than 10,000 supporters.

“What do the people worry about the most now? They are most concerned that war will break out any time.”

He said he can “do better than Tsai Ing-wen or William Lai”, referring to the current Taiwanese vice-president who has been nominated as the DPP’s candidate.

“Let me, on behalf of everyone, strive for peace. Let me preserve the peace,” he said.

This is not Mr Gou’s first bid at political leadership – he attempted a run in 2019 before the previous election but lost to populist outsider Han Kuo-yu for the KMT’s nomination.

Mr Gou’s self-made tale is legendary in Taiwan and mimics the island’s phenomenal economic success. But the huge factories built in China under him have drawn criticism over his perceived cosiness with Beijing’s leadership.

The KMT tends to advocate warmer ties with Beijing, while the DPP remains deeply sceptical of its huge neighbour.

China has ramped up its sabre-rattling in recent years, sending warplanes almost daily into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

In April, it conducted its latest war games around the island in response to a meeting between Ms Tsai and United States House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. AFP

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