Taiwan tells Elon Musk it is ‘not for sale
Taiwan has firmly conveyed to billionaire Elon Musk that it is “non-negotiable” and not open for sale, following his assertion that the island is a part of China.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu emphatically stated on Mr. Musk’s platform, X, “Let me make it clear: Taiwan is not affiliated with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and is absolutely not available for purchase.”
During a recent business summit, Mr. Musk drew parallels between Taiwan and Hawaii, describing it as an “inseparable component” of China.
Tensions have escalated over the past year between Beijing, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and the self-governing island. This week, China conducted military exercises, including air and naval maneuvers, around Taiwan, a recurring display of military strength in the region.
Taiwan reported the presence of over 40 Chinese military aircraft and approximately 10 ships in its waters.
Mr. Musk’s remarks have previously sparked controversy with Taiwan’s government. In October, he suggested that easing tensions between Beijing and Taipei might involve granting China some degree of authority over Taiwan, a notion that drew criticism from Taiwan.
He said then in an interview with the Financial Times that he believed the two governments could reach a “reasonably palatable” arrangement.
China’s ambassador to the US had praised Mr. Musk but his Taiwanese counterpart said something similar to Mr. Wu – that freedom is “not for sale”.
Mr Wu also posted on X: “Hope Elon Musk can also ask the CCP [Chinese Community Party] to open X to its people.” Mr Musk’s micro-blogging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, is banned in China.
Mr Wu had previously said that China’s military drills were intended to influence Taiwan’s elections in January.
“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] has made it clear it wants to shape Taiwan’s coming national election. Well, it’s up to our citizens to decide, not the bully next door,” he wrote on X.
Mr Musk’s electric car maker Tesla has a large manufacturing plant in Shanghai and he most recently visited the country in May. He met top Chinese officials and the Chinese foreign ministry said that Tesla was willing to expand its business in the country.
His visit drew much attention given relations between China and the US have plummeted in recent years. Despite resuming high-level dialogue, the two countries still disagree on a range of issues, including Taiwan, which has emerged as one of the biggest flashpoints between them. The US has long been Taipei’s chief ally.