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Founder of Taiwan's Foxconn says China won't attack if he's president

Published 04/27/2023, 01:43 AM
Updated 04/27/2023, 01:46 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Terry Gou, founder of Taiwan's Foxconn, speaks during a news conference in Taoyuan, Taiwan April 5, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

TAIPEI (Reuters) - The billionaire founder of Taiwan's Foxconn and presidential hopeful Terry Gou said on Thursday China does not want war with the island and would not attack if he become president as he would not declare independence.

Tension between Taipei and Beijing has surged in the run-up to January's presidential election in Taiwan, with China staging regular military exercises near the island to assert sovereignty claims that Taiwan's democratically elected government rejects.

"According to my understanding they don't want war. But if you engage in independence, if there is independence then there must be war. They think Taiwan is theirs," Gou told academics and students at Taiwan's Tunghai University.

Gou, one of Taiwan's most recognisable faces, stepped down as chief of major Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Foxconn, which has extensive manufacturing facilities in China, in 2019.

He launched a second bid this month for the presidential ticket of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), which traditionally favours close ties with Beijing.

China wanted to develop its economy and focus on things like finding jobs for college graduates and feeding its people, Gou said.

"For them, striking Taiwan is not a priority. But Taiwanese politicians hope because of this the people can hate China and therefore they get elected," added Gou, 72."I won't (declare) independence, you won't attack me or fly around Taiwan," he added, referring to the almost daily missions by China's air force in the vicinity of the island.

Gou said he wanted "peace with respect" and talks on an equal footing and he criticised international media for portraying Taiwan as a dangerous ticking time bomb.

"Do you feel it's dangerous?" he asked, to chuckles from the audience.

President Tsai Ing-wen can not stand again due to constitutional limits after two terms in power.

Her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has chosen current Vice President William Lai as its presidential candidate.

The KMT has yet to choose its candidate for the top job.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Terry Gou, founder of Taiwan's Foxconn, speaks during a news conference in Taoyuan, Taiwan April 5, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Tsai has repeatedly offered talks with China but she has been rebuffed as Beijing believes she is a separatist.

Both Tsai and Lai say only Taiwan's people can decide their future.

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