Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, and owner of social media platform X, has been slammed for his remark regarding cross-strait relations.
Musk recently said that “Their [Beijing’s] policy has been to reunite Taiwan with 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.”
His ignorance about Asian history is apparent in this comment, which comes after his suggestion last year to make Taiwan a “special administrative zone” similar to Hong Kong.
The moment the Manchu Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan as a result of the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, Taiwan ended all legal and kinship ties with China. From other historical perspectives, the Constitution of the Republic of China promulgated in 1946 did not explicitly mention Taiwan or any other geographical area.
Since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has never had any control or sovereignty over Taiwan. As a result, Taiwan has always said that Taiwan and China are “one country on each side” and neither is subordinate to the other.
In 1894, Japan launched the First Sino-Japanese War. China was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki, stipulating that it cede Taiwan to Japan, thus putting an end to all connections between China and Taiwan.
As for the US and Hawaii, the US officially annexed Hawaii in 1898. Therefore, it is inappropriate for Musk to compare Taiwan’s relationship with China to Hawaii and the US, as the two historical events had completely different contexts and conditions.
Musk said that Taiwan is an “integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China.”
This is a clear lie. If the remark is allowed to stand, then remarks such as “Tesla is a non-US company, but is arbitrarily so” or “Space X is a subordinate organization under NASA, but is arbitrarily not so,” or “Social media platform X is a branch of Meta, but is arbitrarily not part of it” can also be said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) could not have put it better when he hit back on Musk’s X with the remark: “Listen up, Taiwan is not part of the PRC and is certainly not for sale.”
Perhaps Musk should be reminded of the biblical proverb that “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”
Hung Yu-jui is a Japanese-language teacher and translator.
Translated by Rita Wang
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