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Musk 'does not understand Taiwan': Taiwan Premier

Su Tseng-chang urges public to put more weight on democratic country leaders

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Premier Su Tseng-chang (center) responds to business mogul Elon Musk's comments on Taiwan during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan...

Premier Su Tseng-chang (center) responds to business mogul Elon Musk's comments on Taiwan during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to Tesla Motors' Elon Musk’s remarks about making Taiwan into China’s “special administrative zone,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Musk does not understand Taiwan and cross-strait relations.

When asked during a Legislative Yuan interpellation session on Tuesday (Oct. 11) about the issue, Su laughed, admitting that he had already been asked to comment on it by the press earlier in the day. He said, “Honestly, I did not really want to talk about this.”

“Musk is a businessman. He owns a large car factory in Shanghai right now. He has been promoting various things about his electric cars. We’re not in a position to criticize a businessman, his speech, and his ideas.” Su added, “In all, he probably does not understand Taiwan.”

Su said business people can say one thing one day and another on a different day, while their peers may hold different opinions. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), for example, is also in business, “but they’re at a certain level and take a certain position.”

According to Su, there is a reason why TSMC was able to attain a global presence and garner the world’s praise. “As for Mr. Musk, of course, is a successful businessman and entrepreneur, but his position, speech, or style, I think, have their own reputation. Various parties have commented extensively. As Taiwan’s top executive official, it is not appropriate for me to criticize a businessman like him.”

Su said, “His statement only represents his own individual opinions. However, he truly does not understand Taiwan nor cross-strait relations. I think, (the weight of) his speech is far less than that of the U.S. president, Japan prime minister, U.K. prime minister.” He added, “We should put more importance on these leaders of free, democratic countries.”