Taiwan’s government is sharing cocktail recipes with the public after it reportedly bought 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China amid an ongoing row between Vilnius and Beijing.
The state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor (TTL) said it made the purchase in December to support Lithuania after learning the shipment was going to be blocked by Chinese authorities.
“TTL stood up at the right time, purchased the rum and brought it to Taiwan,” the company said in a statement reported by the South China Morning Post.
“Lithuania supports us and we support Lithuania – TTL calls for a toast to that.”
Lithuania is in an ongoing diplomatic dispute with Beijing, and has been hit with rafts of trade and other restrictions since it announced it would establish mutual diplomatic posts with Taiwan.
The SCMP report said Taiwan’s finance ministry – which wholly owns TTL – and the de facto ambassador to Lithuania, Eric Huang, had learned China was going to reject the shipment, and informed TTL.
TTL and the producer of the dark rum, MV Group Productions, have not responded to the claims. However, in a Facebook post on Tuesday, Taiwan’s national development council, the parliament’s policy planning agency, posted a list of rum-based cocktails and other recipes and urged people to be ready to buy the product in late January.
The post called on people to “support Lithuania”, saying the two countries were very friendly and had helped each other during the epidemic.
The Chinese government has for months been applying pressure and blocking trade with Lithuania, outraged over Vilnius allowing the word “Taiwan” to be used in the name of Taipei’s de facto embassy. Taiwan usually uses the word “Taipei” in naming its diplomatic offices. Beijing claims Taiwan as a province and is hypersensitive to any action which appears to support Taiwan’s stance of being a sovereign nation.
In recent years Beijing has frequently blocked or restricted imports from countries it is engaged in diplomatic disputes with, including coal, wine, and lobsters from Australia, and pineapples from Taiwan. Taiwan’s government is working to strengthen relationships with friendly nations as it seeks to resist Chinese aggression, and has in the past enthusiastically supported those hit with trade restrictions, urging Taiwanese people to buy up the product.