Elon Musk Praised by Beijing, Draws Ire From Taipei for his Taiwan Proposal

Dorothy Li
By Dorothy Li
October 10, 2022China News

After Elon Musk said Taiwan could be made into “a special administrative zone” under the Chinese regime’s control, he was praised by Beijing, but Taipei had a different response.

Neither Taiwan nor any other country would accept a proposal to change a democratic country into a special administrative region of an authoritarian-led country  to benefit corporate investment, said Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council on Oct. 9, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

The council said that Musk’s proposal is based on business interests, and invited the chief executive officer of Tesla and SpaceX to visit democratic Taiwan.

“We welcome Musk and other international business people to visit Taiwan and learn the democracy, freedom, innovation, and development in Taiwan…which are starkly different from the authoritarian market system and malicious coercion and suppression under the [Chineses] Communist Party.”

The response came after Musk weighed in on tensions around Taiwan in an interview with Financial Times published on Oct. 7.

Musk suggested that conflict over Taiwan is inevitable. He also discussed how Tesla, whose gigafactory in Shanghai manufactures up to half of the company’s electric cars, and other global companies would be affected if China invaded Taiwan.

“My recommendation… would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won’t make everyone happy,” Musk said.

“And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong,” he added.

Hong Kong reverted from Britain’s to communist China’s rule in 1997 when the two countries signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Beijing pledged to allow the city to maintain its civil liberties that other mainland Chinese cities don’t enjoy until 2047 under a “one country, two systems” model. But the United States, UK, and other western countries have accused the Chinese regime of breaching the legal deal in the wake of Beijing stifling dissent in Hong Kong’s legislature, civil society, and media.

On Saturday, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington Hsiao Bi-khim also dismissed the tech billionaire’s comment.

“Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale,” Hsiao wrote on Twitter. “Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan.”

Praised by Beijing

Despite criticism from Taiwan, the Chinese regime praised Musk’s recommendation over the weekend.

Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, applauded Musk’s suggestion on Twitter.

“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,” the ambassador wrote on Saturday. He added that the “One Country, Two Systems” system is the principle for “resolving the Taiwan issue.”

Hours later, Mao Ning, spokesperson for Beijing’s foreign ministry, reaffirmed the regime’s stance on Taiwan when asked about Musk’s comment and Taiwan’s response.

“Provided that national sovereignty, security, and development interests are assured, Taiwan can adopt a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region,” Mao said at a regular briefing on Oct. 9.

The Chinese regime claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory to be taken by force if necessary. It has ramped up political and military pressures over Taipei in recent years. In August, Beijing started live fire drills and launched 11 ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited the island.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a ceremony to mark the island’s National Day in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Oct. 10, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Facing increasing assertiveness from China, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen made clear that there was no “room for compromise” over the self-ruled island’s sovereignty and its people’s freedom and democracy.

“The broadest consensus among the Taiwanese people and our various political parties is that we must defend our national sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life,” Tsai said in an Oct. 10 speech marking National Day. “On this point, we have no room for compromise.

“I want to make clear to the Beijing authorities that armed confrontation is absolutely not an option for our two sides,” she said outside the presidential office in Taipei. “Only by respecting the commitment of the Taiwanese people to our sovereignty, democracy, and freedom, can there be a foundation for resuming constructive interaction across the Taiwan Strait.”

From The Epoch Times

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