Elon Musk the world’s richest man is making headlines for his comments on the status of Taiwan. Tesla’s CEO in an interview with Financial Times suggested that Taiwan should be a special administrative zone as it was a “reasonably palatable” solution to resolve the conflict between China and Taiwan. Musk’s remarks earned him praise from the Chinese ambassador to the United States while he faced harsh criticism from Taiwanese officials. Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the United States took to Twitter to thank Elon Musk for his peace plan which was equivalent to putting Taiwan under China’s control. Gang in his Tweet called it something that aligned with China’s basic principle for unification under one country, two systems approach.
Taiwanese officials didn’t like what Musk had to propose for resolving the conflict. Taiwan’s ambassador to the United States, Bin Khim Hsiao tweeted that her country sold many products but their freedom and democracy were not for sale.
The Reason behind Musk Suggesting Taiwan Under China Control
The reason why Elon Musk may not have an issue seeing Taiwan under China’s control, which could be ultimately the case following the special administrative status of the Island, is his business interests. According to a report by CPCA (China Passenger Car Association) Tesla, the electric vehicle company of Elon Musk has sold more than 83000 China-made cars in the month of September, breaking past records. This is apparently the highest sale of Tesla’s China-based factory since 2019. Such a success of Elon Musk’s business venture easily leads to the presumption that an ever-growing Chinese market for electric vehicles is an opportunity that can’t be lost due to some anti-China stance on the issue of Taiwan.
This is not the first time that Tesla’s owner has faced criticism for his business connections with China. In April, when the news of Musk finally buying Twitter broke out, Musk’s rival in space exploration ventures, Jeff Bezos questioned if the deal was going to benefit China in any way since the social networking website was banned in the country.
Proposing Taiwan’s special administrative status as a peace plan has not been the only controversial take of Elon Musk in the recent past. SpaceX founder received a lot of backlash from the Ukraine government after he created a poll to ask if there should be a referendum in Russia’s annexed regions of Ukraine and whether Crimea should remain part of Russia or not.
The Tension between China and Taiwan
Taiwan under China’s control has been a decades-long dream of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) which wants to annex the Island as its province instead of admitting it as a separate country. After CCP won control over mainland China in 1949 it renamed it as People’s Republic of China(PRC). After losing the mainland to CCP in 1949, The Republic of China(ROC) government which was formed in 1927 fled to Taiwan, an island taken back from Japan in 1945. The tensions between Taiwan and mainland China or ROC and PRC continue to date; In fact, they have become more prominent in recent history when the People’s Republic of China is emerging a powerful economic force, resulting in the United States’ fears of regional dominance, particularly in the South China Sea. The geostrategic location of Taiwan makes it significant for both China as well as the western power. Perhaps, this is the reason why the tensions between both these countries are rife with the west prominently siding with the island apparently keeping up with the democratic principles but safeguarding its interests that can be in jeopardy due to Taiwan under China’s control.