Musk offers a proposal on tensions between China and Taiwan after Russia and Ukraine plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Days after pitching a potential deal to end the war between Russia and Ukraine that drew condemnation in Ukraine, billionaire Elon Musk suggested that tensions between China and Taiwan could be resolved by handing over some control of Taiwan. Beijing.

The world’s richest person said, “My recommendation… would be to designate a special administrative region for Taiwan that would be reasonably acceptable, and probably wouldn’t make everyone happy.” financial times In an interview published on Friday.

Musk was responding to a question about China, where his Tesla car is (TSLA.O) The electric car company operates a large factory in Shanghai.

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Beijing, which says democratically governed Taiwan is one of its provinces, has vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so. Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s claims to sovereignty and says only the island’s 23 million residents can decide its future.

“It’s possible, and I think it’s likely, in fact, that they would have a more lenient arrangement than Hong Kong,” Musk was quoted as saying.

China offered Taiwan a “one country, two systems” model of autonomy similar to Hong Kong’s, but this model was rejected by all major political parties in Taiwan and has no public support, especially after Beijing imposed a strict national security law in the city in 2020.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry declined to comment on Musk’s comments on Saturday.

Wang Tingyu, a senior lawmaker from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party and a member of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, criticized Musk on his Facebook page.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk hands over a Model X electric SUV during a presentation in Fremont, California on September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

“Independent companies can’t take ownership as a joke,” Wang said. “Why would they give up the democratic freedoms, sovereignty, and way of life of 23 million Taiwanese? This is unacceptable for Ukraine, and Taiwan will certainly not allow it.”

A senior Taiwanese official familiar with security planning in the region told Reuters that Musk needs to find a clear-eyed political advisor.

“The world has seen clearly what happened to Hong Kong,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “Hong Kong’s economic and social life ended abruptly under Beijing’s totalitarian rule.”

Asked about Musk’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Taiwan was an “internal affair,” adding that Beijing would continue to adhere to the principle of peaceful reunification while “resolutely crushing” Taiwan’s separatism.

The Shanghai plant accounted for about half of Tesla’s global shipments last year. Musk said China sought assurances that he would not provide his company’s Starlink internet service for SpaceX missiles there.

Musk said he believed a conflict over Taiwan was inevitable and warned of its potential impact not only on Tesla, but also on iPhone maker Apple and the broader economy. The interview did not reveal the details of these statements.

Earlier this weekMusk suggested that Ukraine permanently cede Crimea to Russia, that new referendums be held under the auspices of the United Nations to determine the fate of Russian-controlled territories, and that Ukraine agree to neutrality.

He asked Twitter users to think about his plan, prompting sharp criticism from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose Twitter poll suggested: “Which elonmusk do you like more? Who supports Ukraine (or) who supports Russia.”

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(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco); Additional reporting by Yimo Li and Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Yu Lun Tian in Beijing. Editing by Leslie Adler and William Mallard

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