When China blocked Lithuania from exporting 20,000 bottles of rum in a diplomatic feud, Taiwan bought the whole shipment instead, report says

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during the National Day Celebration, following Chinese President Xi Jinpings vow to unify Taiwan by peaceful means, in Taipei, Taiwan, 10 October 2021
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • China was furious with Lithuania after it let Taiwan open a de facto embassy in its capital.

  • Beijing appeared to punish Lithuania by blocking 20,000 bottles of its rum from entering China.

  • Taiwan bought the entire shipment instead, a report said, and the government published recipes on how to cook with rum.

Taiwan stepped in to buy more than 20,000 bottles of Lithuanian rum that Beijing blocked from entering China, the South China Morning Post reported.

For months China has blocked trade with Lithuania following Vilnius' decision to allow Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in November. China claims Taiwan is part of China, while Taiwan maintains its independence.

China, which often applies pressure on nations to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of China, said in December that Lithuania would end up in "the garbage bin of history" unless it changed its mind.

Upon learning that that China was about to block an import of 20,400 bottles of dark rum made by Lithuania's MV Group Production, Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor company — which is owned by the country's finance ministry — purchased the entire shipment on December 18, the Post reported.

"TTL stood up at the right time, purchased the rum and brought it to Taiwan," the company said, the Post reported. "Lithuania supports us and we support Lithuania – TTL calls for a toast to that."

The Taiwanese leadership has not officially addressed the purchase but on Tuesday, Taiwan's national development council posted a graphic featuring recipes of rum-based cocktails and food to cook with rum.

Amid the diplomatic feud, China downgraded its embassy in Lithuania to a chargé d'affaires office and a number of Lithuanian diplomats left China.

Lithuania's government has launched an $148 million aid package for companies whose business had been affected by the feud with China, Bloomberg reported.

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