Foxconn founder Gou, possible Taiwan presidential candidate, to visit US
TAIPEI, March 27 (Reuters) - Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple Inc supplier Foxconn, will visit the United States this week, his office said on Monday, as he considers another run for Taiwan's presidency.
Gou will leave for the United States on Monday evening for a 12-day visit his office called a "journey of scientific and technological economic development" and will also speak at the Washington think-tank, the Brookings Institution.
"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."
Gou will also visit the University of Maryland to talk about artificial intelligence, as well as Harvard Medical School, it added, but did not say if he would meet any U.S. officials while in the country.
Taiwanese presidential candidates traditionally go to the United States 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 as Chinese territory.
Gou has extensive business interests in China and is known for his close ties with Beijing leaders.
Gou, who stepped down as Foxconn chief in 2019, had originally made a presidential bid that year, but dropped out after losing the nomination for Taiwan's main opposition party the Kuomintang, or KMT.
While 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, asked on Saturday whether Gou would be included in the party's nomination process, did not give a definitive answer, but said Gou was an "important part of the blue camp", referring to the party's colours.
Chu and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih are the current front-runners to be chosen as the KMT 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. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard)