Taiwan buys 20,000 bottles of Lithuanian rum after China snub

Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp says it bought the alcohol after learning Chinese customs had blocked its import.

A Taiwanese company has purchased 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum in a show of support for the Baltic country [File: Ritchie B. Tongo/ EPA] (EPA)

A Taiwanese company purchased 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum that China refused to allow into the country to show support for the Baltic nation amid diplomatic tensions, according to the South China Morning Post.

State-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp. said it bought the alcohol from MV Group Production last month after learning that Chinese customs was denying permission for it to be imported, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

“TTL stood up at the right time, purchased the rum and brought it to Taiwan,” the company said in a statement, adding the liquor would be sold on the market. “Lithuania supports us and we support Lithuania – TTL calls for a toast to that.”

China’s General Administration of Customs did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

China has been angry at Lithuania since November, when Taiwan opened a representative office in the Baltic nation’s capital of Vilnius, a move Beijing says violated its one-China principle.

‘Doomed to be in vain’

The European Union later raised Lithuania’s claim that China had applied “unannounced sanctions” on its products to the World Trade Organization. China has denied it’s blocking Lithuania’s exports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing in Beijing he wasn’t aware of the episode, adding: “I can tell you that the Taiwan authorities’ attempt to maintain their space for Taiwan independence activities by dollar diplomacy is doomed to be in vain.”

Source: Bloomberg