TAIPEI • Taiwan's wealthiest man and presidential hopeful Terry Gou said he met President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, with the American leader warning him that the job he is going for is "tough".
Mr Gou, the head of tech giant Foxconn, made a surprise announcement last month that he plans to run for president in January's elections, after declaring that the sea goddess Mazu had urged him to do so.
The 69-year-old tycoon is seeking the nomination of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang opposition party but his huge factories on the mainland have sparked concern over his cosiness with Beijing.
No sitting American president has met a prospective Taiwanese presidential candidate since the US cut ties with Taiwan in 1979.
Various Taiwanese politicians have been beating a path to Washington in recent months, hoping to drum up support within the island's diaspora and among influential American officials. But Mr Gou has managed to secure a face-to-face with Mr Trump.
"If I am elected president of the Republic of China, I will be a peace maker and won't become a troublemaker... I will strengthen Taiwan and the US economically," Mr Gou told reporters in Washington after the meeting.
He also boasted of his White House connections in a swipe at the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is much more sceptical of Beijing.
"We have been given the highest courtesy, (an invite) to the Oval Office. Tell me, until now, which DPP official has such a capability?" he said, later showing reporters a coaster and pen embossed with Mr Trump's signature.
Asked what Mr Trump had told him, Mr Gou said: "He replied that (being a president) it's a tough job."