TAIPEI, Nov 24 — Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple supplier Foxconn, on Friday withdrew from the race to be Taiwan’s next president after the breakdown of opposition talks to mount a joint ticket against the ruling party.

Gou announced his bid in August, saying he wanted to unite the opposition and ensure the island did not become “the next Ukraine”, blaming the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for taking Taiwan to the brink of war by antagonising China, which claims the island as its own territory.

Gou, who only got the go-ahead from the election commission last week after collecting enough valid signatures to run as an independent, said in a statement he was “withdrawing his body but not his spirit”.

“STOP, RESET, RESTART,” he added, using English.

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He did not specify what he would do next in the presidential campaign or who he might back — Hou Yu-ih from Taiwan’s largest opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT), or former Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je from the much smaller Taiwan People’s Party (TPP).

“Must win! All right? Complete the change of power and change Taiwan,” Gou said.

Ko offered his thanks to Gou in a comment on Gou’s Facebook page.

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“We will definitely win!” Ko added.

Gou had tried to broker talks between the KMT and TPP to run together against the DPP, but those efforts imploded late Thursday after an angry showdown between leaders from the opposition parties in front of reporters and shown live on Taiwanese television channels at a conference room in a Taipei hotel. — Reuters