Ukraine is not the only country currently outraged at Elon Musk, as Taiwan has added itself to the list aggrieved countries due to his 'politically incorrect' speech. Musk this week addressed the "All-in Summit" held in Los Angeles.
Speaking to the conference remotely, Musk at one point used language suggesting Taiwan is still "part of China". In the wide-ranging remarks, the billionaire owner of X, Tesla, SpaceX and other companies began that particular section of the talk by saying he possesses a "pretty good understanding, at least as an outsider, of China."
And that's when he issued the 'controversial remarks' as follows: "From their standpoint, you know, maybe it’s analogous to like Hawaii or something like that, like an integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China mostly because … the U.S. Pacific Fleet has stopped any sort of reunification by force," he said.
Naturally this didn't sit well with Taipei (or some Hawaiians for that matter). Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu hit back at Musk in Thursday comments, saying on X:
"Listen up, Taiwan is not part of the [People’s Republic of China] & certainly not for sale!" Wu posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs account.
The Taiwanese foreign minister added that he hopes Musk can also ask the Chinese Communist Party to allow its people to use X — which the Tesla CEO purchased in October 2022.
The Taiwan top diplomat was highlighting Beijing's vast censorship laws and monitoring of citizens' social media activity, especially when it comes to US-based platforms.
Watch the segment where Musk weighed into the Taiwan independence issue...
Without doubt, it's been a very busy week for Musk and full of both online outrage and disinformation, and public protest from sovereign countries, especially Ukraine.
On the Ukraine Starlink issue, and allegations of him switching off access during an attempted Ukrainian operation targeting the Crimea region, he issued important clarification...
Much appreciated, Walter.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 9, 2023
The onus is meaningfully different if I refused to act upon a request from Ukraine vs. made a deliberate change to Starlink to thwart Ukraine.
At no point did I or anyone at SpaceX promise coverage over Crimea.
Moreover, our terms of service clearly… https://t.co/jmNtScM5LY
But of course, we doubt his detractors will pay much attention to the nuance and record getting set straight.
As for the Taiwan comments, it clearly wasn't some kind of systematic explanation of his own beliefs regarding geopolitics, but instead more of an observation in passing, for which he was offering an analogy, and such are always limited. He even included the key caveat "From their standpoint" [meaning China's, not his] before going on to say... "you know, maybe it’s analogous to like Hawaii or something like that, like an integral part of China."
But like with the pro-Zelensky crowd, Musk's detractors see in his brief Taiwan remarks "evidence" of secret sympathies for China (or insert Russia). However, it's also long been clear he just wants to do fair business within the world's second largest economy.