Tesla CEO and tech billionaire Elon Musk recommended to find Taiwan a “special administrative zone” that is not only “reasonably palatable” but also “more lenient than Hong Kong,” irked Taiwanese and displeased China.
The business tycoon’s statement offended a lot of people, especially Taiwanese politicians from major political parties. But it seemingly did not make China happy either. China’s state-run Central Television News released an article on Saturday titled, “Musk steps out of line in discussing China’s Taiwan issue, foreign ministry responds.”
In the article, it noted that when asked about Musk’s statement on the Taiwan-China tension, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said, “the Taiwan issue is China’s domestic politics,” adding that China will “resolutely suppress interference by foreign forces.”
Musk’s statement originated from his recent interview with business and economic current affairs news Financial Times where the tech billionaire shared his view on the ongoing tension between Taiwan and China. The conflict, if not resolved and if the worst scenario happened, could impact his businesses, especially Tesla, which has a Gigafactory in China that produces between 30% and 50% of the American electric vehicle’s total production.
“My recommendation . . . would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won’t make everyone happy. And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong,” Musk said.
The tech billionaire is well aware that the ongoing tension between Taiwan and China has consequences and his Tesla will certainly be on the receiving end of this conflict soon. However, he said that Tesla will not suffer alone, “Apple would be in very deep trouble, that’s for sure,” he forecasted.
Several Taiwanese politicians also gave their comments on Musk’s recommendation on the geopolitical issue. “It is understandable that Musk must cooperate with him in order to do business. But now the world is more concerned about how to ensure Taiwan’s democracy, human rights and freedoms, Luo Zhizheng, secretary-general of the Legislative Yuan of the Democratic Progressive Party said.
Legislative Yuan of the Chinese Kuomintang general leader Zeng Mingzong said Musk’s proposal is not feasible and the Kuomintang group is not in favor of it. The leader noted that the billionaire’s point of view is based on his economic standpoint.
Most of the Taiwanese politicians’ comments underscored that Musk’s position is mainly driven by his business interests and his investment in China, making it a biased and subjective view of the ongoing tension between Taiwan and China.