Elon Musk suggested that tensions between China and Taiwan could be settled by giving Beijing some power over Taipei a few days after floating a possible agreement to end the war between Russia and Ukraine that garnered criticism in Ukraine.
"My recommendation ... would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won't make everyone happy," Musk told the Financial Times. Musk was responding to a query regarding China, the country where sizable manufacturing for his electric car company Tesla is located.
Musk received praise from China's ambassador to the U.S. for his proposal to create a special administrative region for Taiwan, but Taiwan's de facto envoy to Washington rebuked the businessman, declaring that Taiwan's "freedom and democracy are not for sale."
"Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale," tweeted Hsiao Bi-khim on Saturday, serving as Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Washington (Oct 8). "Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan."
In a tweet on Saturday, Qin Gang, China's ambassador to the United States, thanked Musk and emphasized Beijing's call for "peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems'" for the island.
Beijing, which regards Taiwan as one of its provinces, has long promised to annex Taiwan and hasn't ruled out using force to achieve this. The 23 million residents of the island, who are democratically governed, reject China's claims to sovereignty and insist that only they can choose the future of the island.
"I would like to thank @elonmusk for his call for peace across the Taiwan Strait and his idea about establishing a special administrative zone for Taiwan." In tweets posted on Saturday, the Chinese ambassador wrote. "Actually, Peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question ... and the best approach to realizing national reunification," he continued.
He also wrote, "Provided that China's sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, after reunification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region, and a vast space for development."
The "one country, two systems" model of autonomy that China has offered Taiwan is significant compared to that of Hong Kong, but it has been rejected by all major political parties in Taiwan and has received very little public support, particularly after Beijing enacted a strict National Security Law in Hong Kong in 2020.