Taiwan Buys Lithuanian Rum Blocked by China 立陶宛酒遭中國卡關 台酒購入表達支持

Taiwan and Lithuania have been strengthening the bilateral relationship as of late. Recently, a shipment of Lithuanian rum was blocked by Chinese customs, and Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation announced it would buy it.

China has issued sanctions on Lithuania over the latter's decision to set up a representative office in Taiwan. It also canceled purchase orders, including a shipment of 20,000 bottles of Lithuanian rum that is currently stuck at a Chinese port. Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation heard about this, and announced it is going to buy the shipment. The bottles will go on sale in Taiwan at the end of January. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the foreign ministers of nine NATO countries on Jan. 3, during which he expressed his support for Lithuania.

Remus Chen, Director-General, Dept. of European Affairs, MOFA: “In light of China stepping up its political pressure and economic coercion with each passing day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to once again express our gratitude to our democratic partners in the US and Europe for their support of Lithuania.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Lithuania has already passed the relevant legislation needed to set up a rep office in Taiwan, and it is currently selecting a representative and actively making preparations. Meanwhile, it has come to light that former Ambassador to Nicaragua Jaime Wu, who is retired, obtained Nicaraguan citizenship just one day after Nicaragua severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and has continued living there instead of returning to Taiwan. MOFA admitted Wu didn't provide any prior notification.

Joanne Ou, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “After the Nicaraguan government announced they were severing relations with us on Dec. 10, they announced they had granted Nicaraguan citizenship to Ambassador Jaime Wu effective immediately. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not notified by Ambassador Wu of this beforehand, so the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not know of this beforehand.”

MOFA said Wu had asked to be allowed to retire multiple times, but was convinced to keep on working until permission was finally granted in September 2021. The retirement application process was faultless. After relations were severed, Wu said his wife's health issues prevent her from taking a long flight back to Taiwan. He later accepted Nicaraguan citizenship. MOFA hopes he will provide an explanation for this incident.