In an interview with the Financial Times, Elon Musk proposed a solution to the conflict in the Taiwan Strait. The island country is a free and independent nation, however the Chinese communist regime, considers Taiwan a rogue province that needs to be “reunified” with the mainland. This bluster intensified with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island last August.
This is not the first time that the richest men in the world has made such proposals. Recently, he posted on Twitter a poll for his followers to vote for solutions he had devised to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
When a Financial Times reporter asked Elon Musk about China, he replied, “My recommendation … would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably acceptable, probably won’t make everyone happy.”
Musk added, “And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong.”
Tesla operates an auto plant in Shanghai, and was responsible for half of global deliveries in 2021.
In response to Musk’s comment, China’s ambassador to the United States, said on Twitter, “I would like to thank @elonmusk for his call for peace across the Taiwan Strait and his idea of establishing a special administrative zone for Taiwan. Actually, peaceful reunification and ‘one country, two systems’ are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question.”
Taiwanese politicians’ voices echoed on social media. Taiwan’s ambassador to Washington responded, “Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale.”
“Any lasting proposals for our future must be determined peacefully, free of coercion and respectful of the democratic wishes of the Taiwanese people,” Hsiao Bi-khim added.
Wang Ting-yu, one of Taiwan’s most renowned legislators, said, from his Facebook account, “Individual independent companies cannot take their ownership as a joke.” He added, “So why should they casually pass off the democratic freedoms, sovereignty, and way of life of 23 million Taiwanese? It is not acceptable for Ukraine, and Taiwan certainly will not allow it.”
Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, said the military would no longer buy Tesla cars following Musk’s comments. “The procurement of equipment must be in accordance with the needs of the army and in line with government policy guidance.” He added, “The national army currently has no need to purchase additional Tesla vehicles,” Chiu said at a legislative session.
CCP’s controversial response
From the CCP, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the country “will uphold the basic principles of peaceful reunification and one country, two systems.”
On Monday, October 10, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITI) granted a special tax exemption to two Tesla vehicles, the Tesla Model S and X, three days after Elon Musk went public with his proposal for Taiwan to become part of China as “a special administrative region.”
MITI first raised the 10 percent purchase tax exemption, which is equivalent to more than $10,000 for expensive electric vehicles, in August 2019. The reason for the delay in approving the tax exemption three years later, in October 2022, is unknown.
MITI’s announcement would open the door for the return of Tesla models after a monthslong Chinese blockade. In addition, the Chinese regime has retaliated against Tesla vehicles in response to U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies.
In 2021, the CCP banned the military, state-owned companies, and other key industries from using Tesla cars, citing “national security” reasons.
One of the orders restricted Chinese residents from parking their Tesla cars near military installations.
Tesla makes progress in China, one of its most important markets
Despite the Chinese regime’s restrictions due to the “zero-COVID” policy, Tesla’s automotive plant broke all production records. According to Reuters, the company delivered just over 83,000 electric vehicles manufactured in China in September, breaking its monthly record.
Tesla said in a statement, “The record high sales of China-made Tesla cars showed electric vehicles have been leading the mobility trend.”
In 2019, Tesla started the first overseas auto plant in Shanghai, where it built the “Gigafactory.” Musk held many meetings with the leaders of the Chinese regime, repeatedly praising communist China.
During the celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s 2021 anniversary, Musk responded to a Twitter post by Xinhua, the CCP’s state-run news agency. “The economic prosperity China has achieved is truly amazing, especially in infrastructure! I encourage people to visit and see for themselves.”
One of the Chinese Communist Party’s leading state-run media outlets, The Global Times, cited the tweet, which was also replicated on the Chinese social network Weibo, and published an article about Musk’s praise of the “amazing” prosperity of the Chinese economy under the CCP’s leadership.
In the recent interview with the Financial Times, Musk noted that the Chinese Communist regime does not approve of his Starlink satellite network and does not want it to be marketed in China. In addition, the Tesla CEO stated that the CCP did not agree with the recent deployment of SpaceX’s satellite communications system in Ukraine to help the military circumvent Russia’s internet blockade.