Billionaire Elon Musk has offered an arbitrary solution to the Taiwan-China tension that meets more opposition than support.

In an interview published on October 7 by the Financial Times, Musk suggested turning Taiwan into a special administrative zone akin to that of Hong Kong. However, he adds that the approach, quote, “probably won’t make everyone happy.”

The 51-year-old was responding to a query regarding China, where one of Shanghai’s largest plants for his electric car business Tesla is located.

Musk believes a conflict over Taiwan is unavoidable, and the consequences to the economy could be severe. He warned of its possible effects on both Tesla and iPhone producer Apple. For the larger world economy, he expected it could suffer a 30% impact.

Musk disclosed that China had requested him not to promote his SpaceX rocket company’s Starlink broadband service in Taiwan. In addition, he said Beijing had made it clear that it disagreed with his recent launch of Starlink in Ukraine, which was intended to assist the military in getting around Russia’s internet censorship.

Taiwan, a 23 million-person island 112 miles off the coast of China, claims to be a democratic, independent nation with its own government, political system, military, and constitution. The island has rejected Beijing’s views that it is a breakaway province that China would reclaim in the future.

Hong Kong, which accepted Beijing’s “one country, two systems” offer, has increasingly seen its freedom constrained since China rolled out its National Security Law in the city in 2020. According to the BBC, the city on October 8 sentenced five teenagers to three years behind bars for promoting the overthrow of the Chinese state from the former British colony.

Musk’s recommendation saw little support.

According to Focus Taiwan, Kuomintang legislative caucus convener Tseng Ming-chung said Musk’s comments were not feasible, as it was founded on his financial interests in China.

He said, “The Republic of China (Taiwan’s official title) is a sovereign country, and the KMT will resolutely defend its sovereignty and democratic system.”

A senior Taiwanese official familiar with regional security planning told Reuters that Musk needs to hire a politically astute advisor.

The individual says on the condition of anonymity, “The world has seen clearly what happened to Hong Kong… their economic and social vibrancy abruptly ended under Beijing’s totalitarian rule.”

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