Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te criticized China’s investigation of Foxconn, a major Apple supplier, during an election. Lai urged China to value Taiwanese companies and refrain from pressuring them. Foxconn is currently under investigation for tax issues in China, which is believed to be politically motivated due to the upcoming elections in Taiwan. The Chinese state-backed Global Times suggested that Foxconn’s founder, Terry Gou, running as an independent candidate, could split the opposition vote and benefit Lai. China considers Taiwan its own territory and opposes Lai, whom they view as a separatist. Lai emphasized the importance of Taiwanese companies to China’s economic development and warned that pressuring them during an election could lead to a loss of confidence and a shift in production to other countries. Foxconn has been diversifying its manufacturing base outside of China, which may have contributed to the pressure from Beijing. Gou has not commented on the probe, and his campaign events have been canceled. Foxconn stated that it would cooperate with the investigation and emphasized its commitment to legal compliance. The company’s shares have declined since the probe was announced. Taiwan frequently accuses China of interfering in its elections, and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has used the Foxconn probe to accuse China of interference. China has not confirmed the probe, and former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je called on China to explain the investigation. Communication between Taiwan and China has been limited since 2016.
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