The parent company of the Snickers candy bar has apologized on Chinese social media platform Weibo after one of its ads for a limited-edition candy bar launched in South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan called all three countries “countries.”
The message in the ad was interpreted as Mars Wrigley calling for independence from Taiwan. According to the US State Department, the US and Taiwan do not maintain diplomatic relations, but are pursuing a “robust unofficial relationship”. The US government itself does not support Taiwan’s independence.
Mars Wrigley wrote in his apology to Weibo: “Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,” Reuters reported.
One user wrote under the post, which received 8,000 likes: “Say it: Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory!”
Snickers on Fri apologized for marking Taiwan Island as a country and said the local team has verified and tuned the official site and social media accounts to ensure accurate content. Snickers owner Mars Wrigley said it respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. pic.twitter.com/TshespKEf5
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 5, 2022
China ceded Taiwan “forever” to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1894, the New York Times reported in an opinion section article in 1993. According to the article, Taiwan had not been legally re-incorporated to be part of China.
According to the New York Times, the 1951 San Francisco treaty did not specify who would transfer title to the island after Japan relinquished sovereignty over Taiwan.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently completed a highly controversial Asia trip to the Chinese government, where she made a stop in Taiwan as part of her itinerary. The White House has released comments that make it clear that the government does not support an independent Taiwan, despite the optic of Pelosi’s visit to meet officials there.