Taiwan lashed out against the American technology billionaire Elon Musk by “blindly flatter” the Beijing regime after the businessman called the self-governed island an “integral part” of China.
The Asian giant claims Taiwan as its own territory pending “reunification” and has intensified pressure since pro-independence Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.
Musk drew Taipei’s ire for compare Taiwan to the American state of Hawaii on a podcast and call the island “integral part” of China.
At the interview, He said he “understands China well” and said the United States has halted reunification efforts. Furthermore, he said Beijing’s military strength will surpass Washington’s and that force will be used to incorporate Taiwan.
The comments caused anger on the island, where the response did not take long.
Musk “blindly flatters China and if (his) comments are made for commercial interests, such comments do not deserve to be taken seriously and the speaker does not deserve respect“Foreign Ministry spokesman Jeff Liu told reporters.
“We don’t know if Musk’s free will is for sale, but Taiwan is not for sale, that’s for sure“, he claimed.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu previously criticized Musk in a post on opened it to the inhabitants of the country.
“I hope @elonmusk can also ask #CCP to open @X to their people”Wu said. “Maybe he thinks banning it is good policy, like shutting down @Starlink to thwart #Ukraine’s counterattack against #Russia.”
Musk said last week that he had blocked a Ukrainian attack on Russian warships in the Black Sea last year by turning off Internet access to Starlink, its satellite communications system.
Musk has drawn Taiwan’s ire before, most recently in May for claiming that China will inevitably integrate Taiwan.
“China’s official policy is that Taiwan should integrate… There is no need to read between the lines,” he told CNBC in an interview.
“The situation is inevitable,” he said.
Musk, who has extensive business interests in China, often wades into social and geopolitical issues in the comments he posts on his social media.
(With information from AFP)