China hails Elon Musk's proposal for Taiwan unification

China's ambassador to the US Qin Gang has thanked Mr Elon Musk (pictured) for the proposal. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - China heaped praise on Elon Musk's plan for a Hong Kong-like system for Taiwan, despite declining support for unification on the island as Beijing ramps up military pressure.

Mr Qin Gang, China's ambassador to the US, thanked Mr Musk for the proposal, saying on Twitter the "one country, two systems" framework is a basic principle for "resolving the Taiwan question".

Hours later, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning affirmed those remarks.

"Provided that national sovereignty, security and development interests are assured, Taiwan can adopt a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region," she told reporters during a regular briefing on Sunday.

In a Financial Times profile published on Friday, Mr Musk said, "My recommendation... would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable."

He added that "probably won't make everyone happy".

Such a proposal faces growing resistance in Taiwan towards any form of integration with Beijing, especially following the Chinese Communist Party's sweeping crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.

The dispute over Taiwan's sovereignty is among the most dangerous variables in China-US ties, with calls growing among American politicians for a commitment to get involved if Beijing takes military action.

More details about President Xi Jinping's priorities on Taiwan may emerge next week at the upcoming Communist Party Congress, where he is set to secure a norm-defying third term. BLOOMBERG

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.