March 28, 2023
TAIPEI – Mr Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple supplier Foxconn, will visit the United States this week, his office said on Monday, as he considers another run for Taiwan’s presidency.
Mr Gou will leave for the United States on Monday evening for a 12-day visit, described by his office as a “journey of scientific and technological economic development”, and will also speak at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank.
“Not only the United States, but also other major democratic allies have been gradually paying attention to security issues in the Asia-Pacific region,” his office said in a statement.
“The potential risks of regional conflicts highlight Taiwan’s key role in the global cooperation system.”
Mr Gou will also visit the University of Maryland to talk about artificial intelligence, and Harvard Medical School, it added, but did not say whether he would meet any US officials while in the country.
Taiwanese presidential candidates traditionally visit the US before elections, given Washington’s oversized role in ensuring Taiwan’s security in the face of China’s military threats to the island. Beijing views Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary.
Mr Gou has extensive business interests in China and is known for his close ties with Beijing leaders.
Mr Gou, who stepped down as Foxconn chief in 2019, had originally made a presidential bid that year, but dropped out after losing the nomination for Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT).
While Mr Gou has said he is considering another run for the January 2024 presidential election, the KMT has yet to choose its presidential candidate.
KMT chairman Eric Chu, when asked on Saturday whether Mr Gou would be included in the party’s nomination process, did not give a definitive answer, but said Mr Gou was an “important part of the blue camp”, referring to the party’s colours.
Mr Chu and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih are the current front runners to be the KMT’s candidate.
Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party has already chosen Vice-President William Lai as its 2024 candidate, as President Tsai Ing-wen cannot run again after two terms in office. REUTERS