China’s ambassador to the U.S. and Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington have spoken out after Elon Musk suggested that Taiwan should give China some control over the self-ruled island.
“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 Times. “And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong.”
Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the U.S., praised Musk for his comment 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,” Gang tweeted. “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. 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 rights and interests of the people in Taiwan will be fully protected, and both sides of the Taiwan Strait will share the glory of national rejuvenation,” Gang added. “Peaceful reunification of China is also conducive to peace and development in the Asia-Pacific and the wider world.”
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In response, Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington, said “freedom is not for sale.”
“Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale,” Hsiao tweeted. “Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan.”
Although Taiwan governs itself, China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party claims the nation as a province. China has threatened to “reunify” Taiwan with the Chinese mainland by force if necessary. Taiwan, a democracy of 23 million people, objects to Beijing’s claims and maintains itself as an independent nation.
Beijing has offered Taiwan a “one country, two systems” model of governance similar to the one in place with Hong Kong. The proposal has been rejected by mainstream political parties in Taipei and has received very little public support in Taiwan.
Lin Chia-lung, a former minister, said the suggestion would place Taiwan in the same status as Hong Kong. He also accused Musk of being “hungry for the Chinese market.”
“Musk is trading with the devil, and we will not be affected by his words,” Lin said.
Last week, Musk was also criticized for tweeting a “peace” plan between Russia and Ukraine that proposed Kyiv give up territory to Moscow.