Taiwan claps back at Elon Musk after China comments

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says Taiwan is ‘not for sale’ after Musk discusses Beijing’s stance on the island.

Elon Musk has earned a rebuke from Taiwan after referring to China's stance on the self-ruled island [File: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

Taiwan has clapped back at Elon Musk after the billionaire businessman waded into the delicate issue of the island’s relations with China.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that Taiwan was “not for sale” after Musk referred to Beijing’s official position that the self-ruled island is part of its territory.

“Listen up, Taiwan is not part of the PRC & certainly not for sale!” Wu said on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

Wu also said Musk should ask the Chinese Communist Party to allow X in China, where it is currently banned.

“Perhaps he thinks banning it is a good policy, like turning off @Starlink to thwart Ukraine’s counterstrike against Russia,” Wu said, referring to Musk’s decision to deny Ukraine’s request to activate his Starlink satellite network to aid an attack on Russia’s fleet in the port city of Sevastopol.

Speaking at a business summit in Los Angeles, Musk said Beijing’s policy was to “reunite” Taiwan with mainland 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 mostly because … the US Pacific Fleet has stopped any sort of reunification effort by force,” Musk said in remarks at the All-In Summit that were uploaded on YouTube.

Taiwan rejects Beijing’s claims over the island, which stem from the outcome of the Chinese civil war, and opinion polls indicate most Taiwanese do not wish to join with the Chinese mainland.

While Taiwan is only officially recognised as a sovereign country by 13 nations, the island manages its own affairs and has a democratically elected government.

In October, Musk drew a rebuke from Taiwan after he suggested Taiwan-China tensions could be resolved by giving some control of the island to Beijing.

Musk has significant business interests in China, including a Tesla factory in Shanghai, and has made multiple visits to the country in recent years.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies