Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla at a Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.
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Taiwan is “not for sale,” and neither is it part of China, said Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a rebuke to Elon Musk who called the island “an integral part of China.”
“Listen up, Taiwan is not part of the PRC and certainly not for sale!” Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu said late Wednesday on X, also formerly known as Twitter. PRC refers to the People’s Republic of China, the official name of China.
The message was in response to a comment made by Musk during the All-In Summit, which was recently held in Los Angeles.
“I think I understand China well. I’ve been there many times and have met with senior leadership at many levels .. for many years,” Musk said. “I think I’ve got a pretty good understanding as an outsider of China.”
Taiwan has been governed independently of China since the island split from the mainland in a civil war in 1949. Beijing continues to view Taiwan as part of its territory that should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Musk, the CEO of X, SpaceX, as well as electric car maker Tesla, went on to say: China’s policy “has been to reunite Taiwan with China. From their standpoint, maybe it is analogous to Hawaii or something like that, like an integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China.”
CNBC could not immediately reach Musk for comment outside office hours.
Wu, in his tweet, added that he hoped Musk could also ask the Chinese Communist Party to allow its people access to X, which is currently banned in China.
“Hope Elon Musk can also ask the CCP to open X to its people. Perhaps he thinks banning it is a good policy, like turning off Starlink to thwart Ukraine’s counterstrike against Russia,” Wu said.
In the early days of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Musk had reportedly curtailed a Ukrainian military attack on Russia by limiting access to the SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network. The move attracted backlash from Ukraine to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
This is not the first time that Musk has drawn ire from the self-ruled island.
Last October, the billionaire also drew rebuke from Taiwan for his suggestion that tensions between China and Taiwan could be resolved if Beijing had some control over Taiwan.