TAIPEI (Reuters) - The chairman of Apple supplier Foxconn said on Monday he told U.S. President Donald Trump that he wanted to be the peacemaker between the United States, China and self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own.
Billionaire Terry Gou, who said last month he would run for president of Taiwan in 2020, met Trump last week to discuss the status of the Taiwan company's planned investment in Wisconsin.
Using Taiwan's official name, Gou also said Beijing needed to acknowledge the existence of the "Republic of China".
Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province, part of "one China", and has not renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. The United States acknowledges that China takes the position that there is one China and Taiwan is part of it. But it also Taiwan's biggest ally and arms supplier and is duty-bound by legislation to help the island defend itself.
Gou also hit back at critics "trying to make (me out as) 'red' by saying that I will be held hostage" due to Foxconn's investments in China.
The United States and China are in the middle of a bruising trade dispute, with President Donald Trump dramatically increasing pressure on Sunday, saying he would raise U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week and target hundreds of billions more soon.
Gou said the trade spat might end soon, but the broader tensions between the United States and China could drag on longer.
The United States has also been pressing allies to limit the role of Chinese telecom equipment makers such as Huawei Technologies over concerns their gear could be used by Beijing for spying. Huawei says such concerns are baseless.
Foxconn has pledged to create 13,000 jobs and build a $10 billion campus in Wisconsin, but has not met early hiring targets and has said it has been reconsidering its plans.
Gou said the investment in Wisconsin is to help the United States reshape its technology supply chain.
He told Reuters last month he planned to step down from the world's largest contract manufacturer to pave the way for younger talent to move up the company's ranks.
(Reporting by Yimou Lee; writing by Farah Master; Editing by Nick Macfie)