Days after devising a plan to resolve the Russia-Ukraine war that drew flak from Ukraine, billionaire Elon Musk came up with a plan to relieve tensions between China and Taiwan. He suggested handing over some control of Taiwan to Beijing could be helpful.
“My recommendation…would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won’t make everyone happy,” Musk, the founder of SpaceX, told the Financial Times in an interview published on Friday. Musk made the remarks when he was asked about China, where his Tesla electric car company operates a large factory in Shanghai.
Beijing, which says democratically ruled Taiwan is one of its provinces, has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so. Taiwan’s government strongly objects to China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.
“And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong,” Musk, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The Shanghai factory accounted for about half of Tesla’s global deliveries last year. Musk also said China has sought assurances that he would not offer the Starlink internet service of his SpaceX rocket company there.
Musk said he reckoned that conflict over Taiwan was inevitable and warned of its potential impact on not only Tesla but also on iPhone maker Apple Inc and the wider economy. The interview did not elaborate on those remarks.
Earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had an ugly social media spat with Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, over his ideas on ending Russia’s invasion of the country. Musks plan to have an UN-supervised referendum in the four occupied areas that Russia moved to annex last week drew massive condemnation on Twitter on Monday. The Tesla and SpaceX founder even created a poll, allowing his over 107 million followers to vote on the idea.
Ukraine-Russia Peace:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
– Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
– Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
– Water supply to Crimea assured.
– Ukraine remains neutral.
However, Musks initiative did not go down well with the Ukrainians, with their president countering his poll with one of his own: “Which @elonmusk do you like more? The poll had two options: One who supports Ukraine and “One who supports Russia”.