Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk said on Saturday his organization would be closed down if its vehicles were utilized to see, his first comments on news that China’s military has prohibited Teslas from its facilities.
“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information,” Musk told a prominent Chinese forum during a virtual discussion. “If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.”
Sources told Reuters on Friday that the Chinese military has restricted Tesla vehicles from entering its complexes, refering to security worries over cameras installed on the vehicles.
Those limitations surfaced as the top Chinese and U.S. diplomats were holding a contentious meeting in Alaska, the first such in-person interaction since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January.
Musk asked greater mutual trust between the world’s two greatest economies, in his comments to the China Development Forum, a high-level business gathering is hosted by a foundation under the State Council.
He was having a conversation panel with Xue Qikun, a Chinese quantum physicist who heads the Southern University of Science and Technology.
In China, the world’s greatest car market and a key battleground for electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla sold 147,445 vehicles a year ago, 30% of its global total. Nonetheless, it is confronting more rivalry this year from domestic opponents from Nio Inc to Geely.
Musk has made several high-profile appearances in China, where Tesla makes as well as sells EVs. In 2019, he talked about Mars and artificial intelligence with Alibaba’s outspoken founder Jack Ma.
At a delivery event a year ago for China-made Model 3 vehicles, Musk moved excitedly on stage, stripping off his jacket in what became a social media storm.