The remarks that the richest man on the planet made to the Financial Times, on the tense relations between Taiwan and China, angered the autonomous territory. On Tuesday, October 11, the Taiwanese Prime Minister claimed that Elon Musk “doesn’t know much” about the autonomous island, after a statement by the billionaire proposing that it be part of China. Its inhabitants live under the constant threat of an invasion from Beijing, which sees it as a province to be reconquered one day, if necessary by force.
In an interview published on Friday, Musk said he believed Taiwan needed to reach a “reasonably acceptable” deal with Beijing to become a “special administrative zone” of China along the lines of Macao and Hong Kong. Chinese leaders have long proposed applying this model to Taiwan, even though the vast majority of the territory’s inhabitants are opposed to it.
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Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang is the highest official on the island to react to statements by the boss of SpaceX. “Musk is a businessman,” Mr. Su told a parliamentary session. “He has a big car factory in Shanghai and he wants to promote his electric vehicles…a businessman can say this today and say something else tomorrow.” “Musk speaks for himself, but he really doesn’t know much about Taiwan and he doesn’t understand cross-Strait relations either,” the prime minister added.
Polls have consistently shown that a large majority of Taiwanese people do not want to be ruled by Beijing. This feeling has grown since the takeover of Hong Kong by China, which has stifled all dissent. The American entrepreneur’s remarks on Taiwan were welcomed by several Chinese officials, including Beijing’s ambassador to Washington, Qin Gang.
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Last week, the billionaire debated on Twitter with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials about how to end the conflict. The billionaire proposed a peace agreement between kyiv and Moscow based on new referendums under UN supervision, the surrender of Crimea to Russia and a “neutral status” for Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky responded with another poll for his followers: “Which Elon Musk do you prefer, the one who supports Ukraine or the one who supports Russia?” and the Kyiv ambassador to Germany told him to “fuck off”.