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China backtracks and supports Elon Musk's version of Taiwan's future

Billionaire believes solution to cross-strait peace is for Taiwan to become a special administrative region of China

Tesla boss Elon Musk; China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. (AP photos)

Tesla boss Elon Musk; China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning. (AP photos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After Elon Musk’s comments on Taiwan’s future caused rare agreement across the Taiwan Strait, China has had second thoughts and reversed its previous position that the billionaire had “stepped out of line” in discussing the “Taiwan issue.”

Instead of saying Musk’s comments about Taiwan becoming a special administrative region of China were “inappropriate,” China’s foreign ministry said Sunday (Oct. 9) that Taiwan would have a high degree of autonomy after “reunification.”

In an interview with the Financial Times on Friday (Oct. 7), the world’s richest man, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, said conflict over Taiwan was inevitable. His recommendation was “to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable.”

The next day, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) was quoted as saying “the Taiwan issue is China’s domestic politics.” In Taiwan, meanwhile, there was almost universal condemnation of Musk's solution and again a lot of commentary saying he should keep out of politics.

Mao, however, backtracked Sunday by appearing to agree with Musk and his proposal for peace across the strait. "Provided that China's sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, after reunification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region," Mao said, per CGTN.

Mao added that bringing Taiwan within the folds of China would not harm the interests of other countries. In fact, it would bring more opportunity for everyone. Furthermore, it would create a more stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific region and aid world peace.

"We hope and are happy to see more and more people understand and support peaceful reunification and ‘one country, two systems,'" Mao said.

In addition, China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang (秦刚) thanked Musk for his proposal on Twitter. He was full of praise for the entrepreneur and suggested the “one country, two systems” concept was central to “resolving the Taiwan question.”

However, the vast majority of Taiwanese do not want to be governed by China. As a result, Beijing has been threatening to take the democratic nation by force.