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Elon Musk: U.S.-China Tension, a Global Concern

The escalating tension between the United States and China is a cause for concern for everyone, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. His comments came in an interview with CNBC’s David Faber following Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, which took place amidst a climate of increasing geopolitical uncertainty. Musk expressed his apprehensions about the potential implications of any move by China to assert control over Taiwan, a move that could have significant economic and political ramifications globally.

The issue arises from China’s longstanding claim that Taiwan, an island off the Chinese coast, is part of its territory. This issue was thrust into the limelight after President Joe Biden stated in 2020 that the U.S. would be prepared to defend Taiwan if it were attacked. Musk, in response to Faber’s queries, affirmed that China’s official policy is the integration of Taiwan, and emphasized that no interpretation was needed to understand this stance.

Musk further elucidated the potential economic fallout of such a move, drawing on the metaphor of the Chinese and global economies as conjoined twins. He highlighted the interconnectedness of these economies, stating that any attempt to separate them could result in severe complications. Musk also pointed out that the impact on other companies could be even more pronounced than on Tesla, speculating on the potential disruption in the production of items like iPhones.

Despite the geopolitical tension, Tesla continues to manufacture vehicles in its Gigafactory in Shanghai, while also operating factories in California, Texas, and Germany. Musk acknowledged some constraints on Tesla’s ability to expand in China but confirmed that the issue was not a lack of demand. He further indicated Tesla’s dependence on Taiwan Semiconductor for processors, a dependency shared by tech giant Apple.

Musk called for seriousness in considering China’s policy towards Taiwan, hinting at an ‘inevitability’ to the situation. As the leader of a multinational corporation with substantial stakes in both U.S. and Chinese markets, Musk’s perspective offers a sobering analysis of the gravity of U.S.-China tensions.

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