Musk thanked by Chinese ambassador, reprimanded by Taiwanese diplomat over Taiwan plan

WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – China’s ambassador to the United States thanked Elon Musk for proposing a special administrative region for Taiwan, while Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington rebuked the billionaire, saying his “freedom and democracy cannot be bought” .

“Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale,” Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington, tweeted on Saturday. “Any lasting proposal for our future must be decided peacefully, free from coercion, and respecting the democratic aspirations of the people of Taiwan.”

China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, tweeted on Saturday, underscoring Beijing’s call for “peaceful reunification and ‘one country, two systems'” for the island while thanking Musk.

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Days after a possible deal to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has been condemned in Ukraine, was unveiled, Musk suggested tensions between China and Taiwan could be resolved by handing some control of Taiwan over to Beijing .

“My recommendation … would be to create a semi-palatable special administrative region for Taiwan, which probably won’t make everyone happy,” Musk told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday.

Musk was responding to a question about China, where his electric car company Tesla (TSLA.O) has a large factory.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as one of its provinces, has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to that end. Taiwan’s democratically-ruled government firmly rejects China’s claims to sovereignty, saying only the island’s 23 million residents can decide their future.

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In tweets published on Saturday, the Chinese ambassador wrote, “I want to thank @elonmusk for his call for cross-strait peace and his idea of ​​establishing a special administrative region for Taiwan.”

“In fact, Peaceful Reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our basic principles for solving the Taiwan issue… and the best approach to achieve national reunification,” he added.

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“Provided that China’s sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, post-unification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region and vast space for development,” the ambassador wrote.

China has offered Taiwan a “one country, two systems” autonomy model similar to Hong Kong’s, but that has been opposed by all mainstream political parties in Taiwan and has very little public support, especially after Beijing enacted a tough national security law in Hong Kong in 2020.

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Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Kanishka Singh; Edited by Lisa Shumaker and Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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