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Home China committee calls for Elon Musk open SpaceX Starshield web to U.S. troops in Taiwan

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and X, speaks on the Atreju political conference organized by Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), in Rome, Dec. 15, 2023.

Antonio Masiello | Getty Photographs

The Home Choose Committee on the Chinese language Communist Social gathering despatched a letter on Saturday to SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk demanding that U.S. troops stationed in Taiwan get entry to SpaceX’s Starshield, a satellite tv for pc communication community designed particularly for the army.

The letter, obtained by CNBC and first reported by Forbes, claimed that by not making Starshield obtainable to U.S. army forces in Taiwan, SpaceX may violate its Pentagon contract, which requires “international entry” to Starshield know-how.

“I perceive, nonetheless, that SpaceX is presumably withholding broadband web providers in and round Taiwan — presumably in breach of SpaceX’s contractual obligations with the U.S. authorities,” learn the letter, which was signed by Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wi., who chairs the Home CCP committee.

The Pentagon awarded SpaceX a one-year contract for Starshield in September, after commissioning SpaceX’s Starlink community months earlier for Ukraine’s battle in opposition to Russia, which hit the two-year mark on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the Workplace of the Secretary of Protection mentioned in an electronic mail to CNBC on Sunday, “We’ve got no assertion or data to supply relating to the correspondence right now.”

The letter comes after Gallagher led a go to to Taiwan the place he and a delegation of different lawmakers met with Taiwan officers like President Tsai Ing-wen and President-Elect Lai Ching-te.

The letter mentioned that the lawmakers discovered that U.S. troops stationed in Taiwan weren’t ready to make use of Starshield regardless of the Pentagon’s stipulation of world entry: “A number of sources have disclosed to the Committee that Starshield is inactive in and round Taiwan.”

The letter requests that Musk present the Home committee with a briefing on its Taiwan operations by March 8.

Taiwan has been governing itself independently of China for the reason that island break up from the mainland through the 1949 civil battle. China has mentioned it nonetheless lays declare to Taiwan and has repeatedly made clear its intention to reunify the sovereign island with the mainland.

“Within the occasion of CCP army aggression in opposition to Taiwan, American servicemembers within the Western Pacific can be put at extreme danger,” learn the letter. “Making certain strong communication networks for U.S. army personnel on and round Taiwan is paramount for safeguarding U.S. pursuits within the Indo-Pacific area.”

Tesla’s success hinges on favorable enterprise relations with China, which has led Musk, its CEO, to domesticate cozy relations with the nation, regardless of its broader tensions with the U.S. Tesla operates its personal manufacturing unit in Shanghai whereas different international automakers in China had been required to ascertain joint ventures.

Musk got here under fire from Taiwanese officers final September for seemingly siding with China’s reunification doctrine towards Taiwan, stating that the self-governing island was an important a part of China.

“I believe I’ve obtained a reasonably good understanding as an outsider of China,” Musk mentioned on the All-In Podcast. “From their standpoint, possibly it’s analogous to Hawaii or one thing like that, like an integral a part of China that’s arbitrarily not a part of China.”

“Hear up, #Taiwan just isn’t a part of the #PRC & actually not on the market,” Taiwan’s Minister of International Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu wrote on X in response to Musk’s remark.

SpaceX and Musk didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the letter.

This story is creating. Please examine again for updates.

Learn the total letter right here:

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