Tesla CEO Elon Musk found himself in hot water over his suggestion to make Taiwan a “special administrative zone” under Beijing.
He weighed in on the China-Taiwan issue recently in an interview and advocated an increased Chinese control on the island.
“It’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong”, said Musk, pointing to an inevitable conflict over Taiwan and how it would impact the global economy.
Taiwan’s de-facto ambassador to the US, Hsiao Bi-khim, came down heavy on Musk’s solution of the cross-strait conflict saying: “Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale.
“Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan”, Bi-Khim added.
However, the billionaire’s comment received praise from China’s ambassador to the US Qin Gang, who said: “One country, two systems is part of China’s basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question.”
To many, Chinese eulogy of the world’s richest man is not separate from his big business interests in the Asian country. Tesla runs a factory in Shanghai which is reported to have accounted for half the global deliveries of the company past year.
This was not the first time that Musk’s remarks caused displeasure. Earlier this month, he held a twitter poll on his four points proposal to end the war in Ukraine which included permanently ceding Crimea to Russia and a “neutral” Ukraine.
The billionaire’s Ukraine peace plan was met by a feral response by the outgoing Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk who told Musk to “f**k off”, saying that it was still a diplomatic reply.
“The only outcome is that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f…ing tesla crap. So good luck to you”, he added.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet: “Stop using word ‘peace’ as an euphemism to ‘let Russians murder and rape thousands more innocent Ukrainians, and grab more land.”
The feud was joined by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who set up a counter poll on twitter asking which Musk was liked more – the one who supported Ukraine, or the one who supported Russia.
The episode has caused some commotion outside the diplomatic community as well. “Big Short”, investor Michael Burry expressed his bewilderment over Musk’s opinion, tweeting, “I don’t get it. We just saw what happened in Hong Kong.”
In a similar criticism, responding to Musk’s Ukraine peace plan, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov said: “This is moral idiocy, repetition of Kremlin propaganda, a betrayal of Ukrainian courage & sacrifice.”
The electric car manufacturer’s hot takes have invited controversy twice within a week’s time, while he maintains his proposals call for peace and speedy resolution of conflicts.
Produced in association with Benzinga.
(Additional reporting provided by Hamraz Ahmad)
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