Elon Musk meets Chinese foreign minister, who calls for ‘mutual respect’ in US relations


The Tesla CEO visited as the ruling Communist Party tries to revive investor interest in China’s slowing economy.

China’s foreign minister met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday and said strained US-China relations require “mutual respect”, while delivering a message of reassurance that foreign companies are welcome.

US-China relations have been particularly strained since Washington shot down a Chinese balloon believed to be gathering intelligence and warned Beijing not to supply Russia with weapons for its war against Ukraine. China has rejected a request for its defense minister to meet with the US defense secretary when both are in Singapore this weekend, the Pentagon said on Monday.

“We must keep the steering wheel in the right direction of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” Qin Gang told Musk, according to a ministry statement.

The two sides should “avoid ‘dangerous driving,'” Qin said. He did not elaborate on steps to improve relations.

Musk’s visit comes at a time when the ruling Communist Party is trying to revive investor interest in China’s slowing economy. Foreign companies are worried after raids on consulting firms and given China’s strained relations with Washington.

Qin said China will “unwaveringly promote high-level opening” and create a “market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment,” according to the statement. “China’s development is an opportunity for the world.”

China’s electric vehicle market “has broad growth prospects,” Qin said, citing the ministry. China accounts for half of global electric vehicle sales and is the location of Tesla’s first factory outside the United States.

Tesla opened the first wholly foreign-owned car factory in China in 2019 after Beijing eased ownership restrictions to increase competition and speed up industry growth.

The Chinese statement quoted Musk as saying that Tesla was willing to expand its operations in China and was “opposed to unbundling,” a reference to fears that the world could split into multiple markets with incompatible products.

Tesla did not respond to emailed requests for information about Musk’s visit to China.


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