China’s ambassador to the US has thanked Elon Musk for his suggestions on the future of Taiwan but reiterated Beijing’s call for “peaceful reunification” for the island.

The billionaire suggested tensions could be resolved by handing over some control of Taiwan to Beijing by creating a “special administrative zone” for Taiwan.

He admitted in an interview with the Financial Times that this probably “would not make everyone happy”.

China’s ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang tweeted: “I would like to thank @elonmusk for his call for peace across the Taiwan Strait and his idea about establishing a special administrative zone for Taiwan.

“Actually, Peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question… and the best approach to realising national reunification.

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“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, and a vast space for development.

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“The rights and interests of the people in Taiwan will be fully protected, and both sides of the Taiwan Strait will share the glory of national rejuvenation. Peaceful reunification of China is also conducive to peace and development in the Asia-Pacific and the wider world.”

However, Mr Musk’s comments received short shrift from Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington.

Hsiao Bi-khim said: “Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale.

“Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan.”

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Are China and Taiwan about to go to war?

China has offered Taiwan a “one country, two systems” model of autonomy similar to what Hong Kong has.

But that has been rejected by all mainstream political parties in Taiwan and has very little public support, especially after Beijing imposed a tough National Security Law in Hong Kong in 2020.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as one of its provinces, has long vowed to bring it under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so.

Democratically ruled Taiwan’s government strongly objects to China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

Mr Musk’s comments came just days after he floated a possible deal to end the war between Russia and Ukraine that drew condemnation from Kyiv.