TAIPEI: Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of tech giant Foxconn, announced Wednesday (April 5) that he is seeking the presidential nomination of Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang party to “avoid war” with China.
Taiwan is due to elect its next leader in January 2024, succeeding President Tsai Ing-wen, who came to power twice amid rising tensions with China.
Gau, 72, who returned from a visit to the US, told reporters that “there is a risk that war could break out at any time” and that President Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should be voted out “to avoid war”.
Tsai will step down in May 2024 after serving up to two terms permitted. Vice President William Lai, 63, said he would seek the DPP nomination.
“You must honestly tell young people that defending Taiwan independence, hating China and voting for the anti-China DPP is against your interests,” Guo said.
“We cannot take (peace) for granted. People must make the right choices.”
His announcement came ahead of Tsai’s scheduled meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a stopover in Los Angeles on Wednesday after a visit to Central America.
That meeting will almost certainly upset Beijing.
Last year, after McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taipei, China held large-scale military exercises around Taiwan.
China claims the Dominion Islands are part of its territory that it will one day take by force if need be.
Beijing on Tuesday vowed to “firmly defend” sovereignty ahead of Tsai’s US visit and warned McCarthy that he was “playing with fire”.
When Gou last asked for the National Party’s presidential nomination in 2019, he ceded control of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and a major supplier of Apple iPhones.
That bid ended in defeat in the party’s primary.
Most of Gou’s investments are in China, where he employs more than 1 million workers in large factories, raising concerns about his perception of Beijing’s leadership.