Taiwan is “not for sale,” the island’s foreign minister stated in a stern rebuke to Elon Musk, who claimed Taiwan was an integral part of China, as the billionaire once again ventured into the delicate issue of relations between Beijing and Taipei.
Musk, owner of the social media platform X formerly known as Twitter, Tesla, and the Starlink satellite network, made the remarks at the All-In Summit in Los Angeles, which were uploaded to YouTube this week.
The policy of Beijing has been to reunite Taiwan with China. “From their perspective, it may be comparable to Hawaii or something similar, as an integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China, primarily because the US Pacific Fleet has halted any sort of forcible reunification,” he said.
Late Wednesday (September 13), Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu posted on X that he hoped Musk would ask China to “open @X to its people.” China blocks X as well as other key Western social media platforms such as Facebook.
“Perhaps he thinks banning it is a good policy, like turning off @Starlink to thwart Ukraine’s counterstrike against Russia,” Wu added, referring to Musk’s refusal last year to activate his Starlink satellite network in Crimea’s port city of Sevastopol to aid an attack on Russia’s fleet there.
Taiwan is not part of the People’s Republic of China and is not for sale! Using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China, Wu stated.
The democratically elected government of Taiwan vehemently rejects China’s sovereignty claims and asserts that only the Taiwanese people can determine the island’s future.
Musk, whose Tesla had a major factory in Shanghai, has previously angered Taiwan.
In October of last year, he indicated that tensions between China and Taiwan could be resolved by ceding some control of Taiwan to Beijing, eliciting a similar rebuke from Taiwan.
Putin gives praise to Elon Musk
Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Elon Musk as a “outstanding person” and businessman whose SpaceX company has become a leader in the space transportation industry.
Aljazeera reports, Putin’s public praise of Musk on Tuesday comes days after the South African-born and U.S.-based entrepreneur said he refused a Ukrainian request to activate his Starlink satellite communication network in the Russian-annexed Crimean port city of Sevastopol to aid in an attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet, citing his fear of complicity in a “major” act of war.
Putin did not mention the Starlink controversy when speaking at an economic forum in Russia’s Far East. But when queried about SpaceX’s success in launching rockets into space, he was effusive in his praise.
Regarding private business and Elon Musk, he is unquestionably a remarkable individual. This must be acknowledged, and I believe it is acknowledged globally,” Putin stated.
“He [Musk] is an active and talented businessman who is achieving a great deal of success, with the assistance of the American government,” he added.
Putin also defended former US President Donald Trump against the numerous criminal charges he faces.
Putin stated at the forum that the allegations against Trump demonstrate the “rottenness of the American political system.”
“What is occurring with Trump is the political persecution of a political rival.”
Trump is facing several separate criminal cases in the US, including being charged in federal court in Washington, DC with attempted election fraud over his alleged efforts to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election. In a state court in Georgia, he is charged with election interference, while in a federal court in Florida, he is accused of mishandling classified documents after departing the White House.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, one of the most hawkish voices in the Kremlin regarding Ukraine and the potential for a widening conflict with the West, praised Musk’s actions regarding Starlink, Crimea, and Ukraine’s forces on the Musk-owned X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, earlier this month.
Medvedev referred to Musk as “the last competent intellect in North America.”
Ukrainian officials have criticised Musk’s decision to defend the Russian fleet from an attack by Ukraine, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of the Democratic Party of the United States has demanded an investigation into Musk’s actions.
The US Congress should investigate “whether we have adequate tools to make sure foreign policy is conducted by the government and not by one billionaire”, Warren said on Monday, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
The US Department of Defence awarded SpaceX a contract to provide Ukraine with Starlink satellite communication services.
Russia, which annexed the strategic Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, has used its Black Sea Fleet to blockade Ukrainian ports since its full-scale invasion of the country in 2022. The Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol.
The Russian fleet also employs cruise missiles against civilian targets in Ukraine. Utilising maritime drones, Kiev has attacked Russian ships.
Musk wrote on X last week that he had no choice but to deny an emergency request from Ukraine “to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol”
Musk did not specify the date of the request, nor was it specified in the excerpt.
“The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor,” wrote Musk.
“SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation if I had agreed to their request.”