American tech billionaire Elon Musk has drawn Taipei's ire for comparing self-ruled Taiwan to the US state of Hawaii in a podcast and called the island "an integral part" of China.
Speaking at a business summit in Los Angeles, Elon Musk suggested that China might view Taiwan the same way the US views Hawaii. 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.
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, in a post on X late Wednesday, responded that he hoped Musk could ask China to “open @X to its people."
China blocks X, formerly known as Twitter, along with other major Western social media like Facebook.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jeff Liu also accused Musk of flattering China
Musk "blindly flatters China and if (his) comments are made out of commercial interests, such comments are not worthy of being taken seriously and the speaker does not deserve respect," the spokesman said.
"We don't know if Musk's free will is for sale but Taiwan is not for sale, that's for sure," he added.
In May also Musk sparked anger in Taiwan, saying China will inevitably integrate Taiwan.
"The official policy of China is that Taiwan should be integrated... One does not need to read between the lines," he told CNBC in an interview. "There is a certain inevitability to the situation," he said.
68 Chinese warplanes, 10 vessels detected near island: Taiwan
Authorities in Taipei said Thursday dozens of Chinese warplanes and 10 navy ships were detected around Taiwan, after warning that Beijing was conducting air and sea drills in the Western Pacific.
Taiwan said 68 Chinese warplanes and 10 vessels were detected near the island.
Taiwan's defense ministry said in a statement that 68 Chinese aircraft and 10 naval vessels were detected near the island between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.
Taipei had already said some of those planes and warships were heading to an unspecified area of the Western Pacific to "conduct joint sea and air training" with China's Shandong aircraft carrier.
The Shandong, one of two operational aircraft carriers in the Chinese fleet, was detected Monday around 60 nautical miles (110 kilometers) southeast of Taiwan heading into the Western Pacific, Taipei authorities said.
Japan's defense ministry also said Wednesday its navy had detected six ships -- including frigates, destroyers, one fast combat support ship and the Shandong -- sailing through waters some 650 kilometers south of Miyakojima island, east of Taiwan.
It also confirmed that jets and helicopters had been detected taking off and landing from the Shandong.
China has not commented officially on any drills being conducted in the Western Pacific.
Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory awaiting "reunification".
Relations with China have soured since the self-ruled island's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.
Beijing has in recent years ratcheted up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan. The number of warplane flights around the island increased dramatically following last August's visit by Nancy Pelosi, then-speaker of the US House of Representatives.
China conducted military exercises in April to simulate the encirclement of Taiwan after Tsai met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
China earlier this month strongly condemned the US decision to provide Taiwan with military aid as a serious violation of the “one-China principle.”
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the move is a serious violation of the “one-China principle” to which Washington is committed
.China describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the US, and the topic remains a constant source of friction between Beijing and Washington.
Beijing has repeatedly warned against any official exchanges between Washington and Chinese Taipei, including provision of military assistance to the island.