Foxconn’s Gou hints at run for Taiwan presidency

Foxconn chairman and founder Terry Gou plan to step down from the world’s largest contract manufacturer. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Foxconn’s Gou hints at run for Taiwan presidency

  • Terry Gou declined to say which party he could represent in his potential presidential bid
  • Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in January at a time of heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait

TAIPEI: Foxconn’s chairman Terry Gou said on Tuesday he is considering whether to run for Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election, a day after reports said the tycoon planned to step down from the world’s largest contract manufacturer.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark the 40th anniversary of Taiwan-US ties, Gou declined to say which party he could represent, at a time of heightened tensions between the self-ruled island and Beijing.
If it was the opposition, China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), he would “go” with the standard procedures of the party, Gou said, adding he would make that decision “as soon as possible.”
“I didn’t sleep last night ... 2020 is key for Taiwan. The reason for the tense situation (with China) is because it’s a turning point for Taiwan’s direction for politics, economy, defense for the next 20 years,” Gou said.
“So, I asked myself the whole night ... I need to ask myself what I can do. What I can do for the youth? ... The next 20 years will decide their fate,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears at times.
The KMT said in a statement Gou had been a party member for more than 50 years and had given it an interest-free loan of T$45 million ($1.5 million) in 2016 under the name of his mother, a move that signaled his “loyalty” to the party.
The KMT did not immediately respond to a media enquiry on whether Gou was eligible to participate in the party’s already highly competitive primary election.
Gou, Taiwan’s richest person with a net worth of $7.6 billion according to Forbes, told Reuters on Monday he planned to step down in the coming months to pave the way for younger talent to move up the company’s ranks.
The company later said Gou will remain chairman of Foxconn, though he plans to withdraw from daily operations.
Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in January at a time of heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait, with Chinese bombers and warships conducting drills around the self-ruled island on Monday.
A senior US official denounced the military maneuvers as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.
China claims Taiwan as its own and has vowed to bring the island, which it regards as a sacred territory, under Chinese control, by force if necessary.
The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.
“We need peace. We don’t need to buy too many weapons. Peace is the biggest weapon,” Gou said, adding that Taiwan only needs adequate self-defense.
“If we spend the money for weapons on economic development, on artificial intelligence, on investment in the United States, this would be the biggest assurance on peace.”
“Whose children are willing to sit in those fighter jets?”
A source with direct knowledge of the situation said Gou was likely to announce his decision on the presidential bid later on Tuesday at the earliest and was due to travel to Foxconn’s factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Wednesday.
Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party is expected to announce a presidential candidate in May, with contenders including President Tsai Ing-wen and her former premier, William Lai.
Asked by Reuters on Monday if he would quit as chairman, Gou said, at 69 years old, he was moving in that direction, though any decision needed to be discussed with Foxconn’s board.
“I don’t know where you got the information from. But I have to say, basically, I’m working toward that direction — to walk back to the second line, or retire,” Gou said.
He also signaled a major management reshuffle.
“In the board meeting in April-May we will give the new list of board members to the board,” Gou said without elaborating.
Founded in 1974, the Foxconn group is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer with T$5.2 trillion ($168.52 billion) in annual revenue. It assembles goods for a miscellany of global tech firms but relies on Apple for over half of annual revenue, analysts said.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.