Taiwan hits back at Elon Musk’s claim that it is ‘part of China’

Hong Kong CNN  — 

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has hit back after Elon Musk called the self-ruled island an “integral part of China.”

Speaking remotely at the All-in Summit, which took place in Los Angeles this week, Musk compared Taiwan’s relationship with China to that of Hawaii’s with the United States.

“[Beijing’s] policy has been to sort of reunite Taiwan with China,” said the Tesla (TSLA) CEO, who claimed he understands China “well.”

“From their standpoint, you know, maybe it’s analogous to like Hawaii or something like that, like an integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China mostly because … the US Pacific Fleet has stopped any sort of reunification effort by force.”

Taiwan is a democratic island that the Communist leadership in Beijing has long claimed as part of its territory, despite having never controlled it. Hawaii has been an official US state since 1959.

“Listen up, Taiwan is not part of the PRC [and] certainly not for sale!” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in a Wednesday statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, referring to the country by its official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Joseph Wu is Taiwan's foreign minister.

Wu pointedly added that he hoped Musk “can also ask the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) to open X to its people.”

Like other Western social media platforms, X, which is now owned by Musk, has long been blocked in mainland China by authorities.

China ties

Musk’s comments were made in response to a question about the challenges faced by American businesses in China.

Because of his business interests in China, Musk has met with “senior leadership at many levels in China,” he noted, adding that he felt he had “a pretty good understanding” of the country for “an outsider.”

Musk visited China earlier this year, where he held court with numerous government officials and visited Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai. In April, he announced plans for a new battery factory in the city.

Musk has been effusive in his praise for Tesla vehicles produced in Shanghai, saying they are associated with “not just the most efficient production, but also the highest quality.”

During his May visit, Musk said he was opposed to the idea of a US-China decoupling amid geopolitical fissures, calling the interests of both countries “intertwined like conjoined twins.”

Tesla is deeply reliant on China, with deliveries from the Shanghai facility accounting for more than half of its global sales.

The electric carmaker is bullish on the world’s biggest auto market, though it has encountered issues there.

In recent years, some Chinese government ministries have banned the company’s vehicles from entering their premises over purported security fears.

The electric vehicle maker has also slashed prices for its cars in China several times this year, reigniting a price war in the industry, where it is in second place behind market leader BYD.

In Taiwan, Tesla has a sales and charging network.


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