A representative of the Chinese government met with Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk on Tuesday, assuring the billionaire that despite fraught relations with the United States, foreign companies can invest with confidence in China.
“We need to keep the steering wheel in the right direction of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told Musk, according to a statement.
Both parties should “avoid ‘dangerous driving,'” Qin added.
He did not, however, elaborate on how to strengthen relations with the United States.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing rejected Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s request for a meeting aimed at rapprochement.
“China has rebuffed a U.S. request for a meeting between their defense chiefs on the sidelines of an annual security forum in Singapore this weekend, the Pentagon said Monday, showing the limits of a tentative rapprochement between the two rival powers,” the outlet reported on Tuesday.
“The decision by China formally to inform the Pentagon shuts the door for now on a meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Li Shangfu, China’s new defense minister, which the U.S. had proposed on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum,” the report continued.
As Beijing’s governing Communist party struggles with an economic slowdown, China’s rejection of Austin and acceptance of Musk provides a clear indication of its current priorities.
“Foreign companies are uneasy following raids on consulting firms and given the strained Chinese relations with Washington,” The Western Journal reported.
The Foreign Ministry’s statement added that Qin stated China will “unwaveringly promote high-level opening up” and create a “market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment.”
“China’s development is an opportunity for the world,” he added.
China is specifically striving to expand its electric vehicle manufacturing base, while accounting for roughly half of global EV sales at present. China was the location of the first Tesla facility outside of the United States.
Beijing has expressed doubts about the sincerity of Washington’s motives in advocating for the meeting, citing the sanctions imposed by the United States on Li since 2018. During his tenure as chief of the Chinese military’s armaments departments, Li purchased combat aircraft and missile equipment from Russia, drawing the ire of the United States.
In a statement to the WSJ, Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, asserted that the United States was “continuing to impose sanctions on Chinese officials, institutions, and companies.”
He added, “Is there sincerity and significance in any communication of this nature?”
Historically, such meetings have frequently occurred with short notice, similar to last year’s meeting between Austin and his erstwhile counterpart, which was arranged mere hours prior to its occurrence, the news source noted.
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
“Overnight, the PRC informed the U.S. that they have declined our early May invitation for Secretary Austin to meet with PRC Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu in Singapore this week,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The Department believes strongly in the importance of maintaining open lines of military-to-military communication between Washington and Beijing to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.” CONTINUE READING…