Billionaire Elon Musk has suggested that tensions between China and Taiwan could be resolved by handing some control over Taiwan to Beijing.
“My recommendation… would be to create a special administrative area for Taiwan, which would be acceptable but probably won’t please everyone“, said the richest man in the world, for the Financial Times, in an interview published on Friday.
“And it is possible, and I think likely, in fact, that they will come to an arrangement that is more lenient than the one with Hong Kong.Musk said, quoted by the newspaper.
Musk was responding to a question about China, where his electric car company Tesla ( TSLA.O ) operates a factory in Shanghai.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as one of its provinces, has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out using force to do so. Taiwan’s government firmly opposes China’s claims and says that only the island’s 23 million inhabitants can decide the island’s future.
China offered Taiwan a model of autonomy “one country, two systems” similar to Hong Kong’s, but it has been rejected by all of Taiwan’s main political parties and lacks public support, especially after Beijing imposed a strict national security law on the city in 2020.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on Musk’s claims.
Wang Ting-yu, a senior member of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party who sits on the parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee, criticized Musk on his Facebook page.
“Independent sole proprietorships cannot take their ownership for granted. So why should they overlook the democratic freedoms, sovereignty and way of life of 23 million Taiwanese? It is not acceptable in the case of Ukraine and Taiwan will certainly not allow it“, he said.
A senior Taiwanese official familiar with security planning in the region told Reuters that “Musk needs to find a rational political advisor“.
“The world saw clearly what happened to Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s economic and social vitality came to an abrupt end under Beijing’s totalitarian rule“, said the official, under the condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The Shanghai factory accounted for about half of Tesla’s global deliveries last year. Musk said Beijing had sought assurances that it would not offer his SpaceX rocket company’s Starlink internet service there.
Musk said he believed the conflict in Taiwan was inevitable and warned of its impact not only on Tesla but also on iPhone maker Apple Inc ( AAPL.O ) and the wider economy.
Earlier this week, Musk proposed that Ukraine permanently cede Crimea to Russia, that new referendums be held under UN auspices to determine the fate of the Russian-controlled territory, and that Ukraine agree to neutrality.
He asked Twitter users to consider his plan, drawing sharp criticism from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Which Elon Musk do you like better? The one who supports Ukraine, or the one who supports Russia“, the Ukrainian leader wrote on Twitter.
Publication date: 08-10-2022 11:47
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