Taiwan: Elon Musk Faces Ire For Suggesting That Island Must Reconcile Being A Special Administrative Region Of China
Days after stoking controversy by wading into geopolitics by advocating an end to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk is in the eye of another storm over his suggestion that Taiwan becomes a special administrative region of China.
In an interview with the Financial Times, published on Friday, the billionaire businessman was quoted as saying, "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," he added.
Musk's Tesla operates a large electric car factory in Shanghai. The Shanghai factory accounted for about half of Tesla's global deliveries last year.
In the interview, Musk said that conflict over Taiwan was inevitable and warned of its potential impact on not only Tesla but also on iPhone maker Apple as well as the wider global economy, which he estimated would take a 30% hit.
Musk's suggestion has attracted severe criticism in Taiwan from lawmakers cutting across party lines.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Lo Chih-cheng said that while the world is concerned about protecting Taiwan's democracy, freedom and human rights, Musk is concerned about other issues.
"Individual independent companies cannot take their ownership as a joke," DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu wrote on Facebook. "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."
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip William Tseng said that Musk's suggestions are impractical, adding that the Republic of China (ROC) is a sovereign, independent nation and his party would protect its sovereignty, democracy and freedom.
Taiwan's government rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only the island's 23 million people can decide its future.
Earlier this week, Musk stoked a major controversy by proposing that Ukraine permanently cede Crimea to Russia, that new referendums be conducted under United Nations supervision to determine the fate of Russian-controlled territory, and that Ukraine agree to neutrality.
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