Terry Gou urges Beijing to face Republic of China’s existence

TAIPEI (CNA) — Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), who has thrown his hat into Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential Election, called on Beijing publicly on May 6 to face the truth that the Republic of China (ROC) exists.

Donning a cap displaying the ROC (Taiwan) and U.S. flags, the 68-year-old business tycoon whose company, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., trading as Foxconn Technology Group and better known as Foxconn, assembles iPhones for Apple, asked the Chinese media at a press conference in Taipei not to blur out the flag cap, saying that problem was why he entered the race.

“Mainland China should squarely face the truth that the Republic of China exists,” Gou urged while also suggesting that the two sides across the Taiwan Strait jointly create growth on the basis of cross-strait peace.

Gou issued the appeal as he tried to clarify a controversial comment made during his visit to the United States last week that “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.” The statement was criticized by Mainland Affairs Council chief Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), who said at the Legislative Yuan earlier in the day that “Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

He asked Gou not to spread misinformation in the international community, but Gou responded in a Facebook post that Chen distorted his comment and called him an “unqualified MAC head.” Gou said the “China” he referred was the Republic of China under the Constitution, and therefore Taiwan is naturally a part of the ROC.

“The ROC has never been part of the PRC,” he stressed.

The head of the Hon Hai Group, which is known internationally as Foxconn, visited the U.S. from April 30 to May 4, during which he met with President Donald Trump at the White House on May 1 to discuss his company’s investment project in Wisconsin and his intention to run for president.

At Monday’s press conference, Gou talked about his activities during the U.S. trip and answered questions on political issues that have emerged since he announced on April 17 that he would run in the opposition Kuomintang’s presidential primary.

As to how he would deal with China if elected president, Gou said he would seek talks with Beijing and create a “dividend” for Taiwan by discussing an economic framework on the basis of peace and prosperity.

He rejected concerns that China might try to exact concessions from him as Taiwan’s president by “kidnapping” Hon Hai’s production complexes in China, arguing that it would be self-defeating for Beijing to do so.

Hon Hai has invested in manufacturing in China that has created economic activity and job opportunities, and it exports products around the world, and any government around the globe would more than welcome that, Gou said.

“On what basis would Chinese authorities kidnap me?” Gou asked, saying he is capable of moving factories to places that are more competitive and also describing the acquisition of Sharp and his investment in the United States as the right decision.

Commenting on Trump’s plan to raise tariffs on products from China, Gou said that no matter how the trade war between China and the U.S. ends, he expected the Chinese market to be opened up “in a sensational manner” and the U.S. to try to build its own supply chain.

“Taiwan can play a more important role” if China and the U.S. compete with each other fiercely, Gou said, adding that Taiwan can generate benefits from China’s trade transformation and the U.S.’s reshaping of its supply chain.

Asked about his successor at Hon Hai, the business leader declined to disclose details before the company’s board meeting on Friday. Earlier Monday, Gou was said to be stepping back from the company’s day-to-day operations after voicing his intention to take part in the KMT’s presidential primary, according to a Hon Hai source.

Huang Chiu-lien (黃秋蓮), Hon Hai’s chief financial officer, is expected to succeed Gou as chairman of the company, said the source, who asked not to be identified.

By Chung Jung-feng and Elizabeth Hsu