Diaoyu Islands

Taiwan tycoon quips he will buy Diaoyu islands

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am

Taiwanese tycoon Terry Gou has raised eyebrows again with his brand of humour, this time for saying he would buy a disputed East China Sea island chain to jointly develop it with Japan and the mainland.

Local media quoted the chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry - the parent company of Foxconn - as saying on Monday that he would consider purchasing the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, to resolve the ongoing sovereignty dispute among Taiwan, the mainland and Japan.

'I am willing to buy the Diaoyu Islands,' he said during a shareholders' meeting, according to various media reports yesterday, including by the Taipei-based Economic Daily News.

He said that Taiwan and Japan should jointly develop an oil field in the region, thereby raising the stock index in Japan to 20,000 points and boosting Taiwan's economy, Taipei's United Daily News reported, adding that Gou later said the joint project should include the mainland.

'This way, all of us would become rich and there would be no war, and Japan would no longer need to reopen nuclear power plants,' the newspaper quoted him as saying.

The Tokyo city government recently launched a fund drive to raise an undisclosed amount of money to buy the disputed islands from a private family in Japan that reportedly owns the land rights. China has rejected outside territorial claims to the islands.

Media reported that Gou was speaking with shareholders about Hon Hai's plans to establish a joint venture with Japan's Sharp Corporation in Chengdu, Sichuan province, where cutting-edge electronic displays would be made.

In a statement issued last night, Hon Hai said the chairman was responding at the meeting to a question by Japanese reporters, who asked him what he thought about the possibility of the mainland, Taiwan and Japan setting aside their disputes and jointly mining the islands' resources.

Steve Shia, deputy spokesman of Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed yesterday that Taiwan owned Diaoyu, and it would not be sold to anyone.

Gou could not be reached for further comment yesterday.

In a previous scandal over his words, his company had to apologise for comments Gou made during a company party at the Taipei Zoo in January, when he compared his firm's workers to animals.