Elon Musk Meets Chinese Finance Minister in Beijing
American billionaire and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, recently met with China’s Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, reemphasizing his company's dedication to operating in China despite escalating political tension between the US and China. The meeting signals Beijing’s ongoing receptivity to foreign enterprises.
Qin extended a reassuring message to Musk, saying that China would persistently advocate for "high-level opening up" and nurture a "market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment." China's Foreign Ministry quoted Qin stating, "China’s development is an opportunity for the world,” underlining the nation's commitment to global economic integration.
Tesla, a dominant foreign manufacturer in China, uses the country as its primary production base and counts it as its second-largest market for electric vehicles. Musk, whose net worth is estimated at nearly $200 billion by Forbes, is part of a wave of US business leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Pfizer’s Albert Bourla, returning to China after nearly three years of travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These visits have occurred amidst escalating geopolitical tensions, with Beijing severing military and climate ties with Washington in August last year over alleged US interference in Taiwan. China's Foreign Ministry emphasized that the US "should earnestly respect China’s sovereignty, security, and interest concerns and immediately correct its wrong practices."
During his meeting with Musk, Qin used a driving metaphor to encapsulate his vision for US-China relations. He stated, "We need to keep the steering wheel in the right direction of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation." He added that both countries should wisely control their metaphorical brakes and accelerators to evade "dangerous driving" and foster mutually beneficial cooperation.
In response, Musk expressed Tesla’s opposition to a potential economic "decoupling" between the US and China, comparing the two economies to "conjoined twins." He affirmed Tesla's eagerness to broaden its footprint in China, leveraging the country's development opportunities, and lauded the diligence and intelligence of the Chinese people.
In an earlier interaction last October, Qin, then Chinese ambassador to Washington, thanked Musk for promoting peace in the Taiwan Strait. He expressed his admiration for Musk’s idea of bringing about Chinese reunification by proposing Taiwan as a special administrative region with a certain degree of autonomy.
While geopolitical tensions remain, interactions such as Musk's meeting with Qin Gang indicate an ongoing commitment to maintaining and strengthening economic ties and cooperation between the US and China.