Mars Wrigley, maker of Snickers candy bars, apologized late this week after advertisements in Asia suggested that Taiwan was an independent country.
The candy company was running online advertisements with a South Korean boy band that was targeting audiences outside of China.
Reuters reported that the advertisement was for a limited edition Snickers bar that would only be available in the “countries” of South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
Social media users in China, which falsely claims that Taiwan belongs to it, exploded over the advertisement after it went viral online.
“We are aware of reports of Snickers-related activities in other parts of Asia, which we take seriously and apologize for,” the company said in a statement that was translated by Google. “We have immediately requested the local team of Snickers to check and adjust its official website and official social account to ensure that the company’s publicity content is accurate.”
“At present, the markets involved in the event have completed the rectification of relevant content,” the statement continued. “Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and strictly follows local Chinese laws and regulations Carry out business operations activities. We will continue to provide Chinese consumers with high-quality products and services service.”
The Wall Street Journal noted that the company issued a second statement a couple of hours later that stated: “There is #OnlyOneChina in the world, and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory.”
The apology from Mars Wrigley comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan this week to show that China could not isolate the island from the rest of the world.
Pelosi’s visit to the island came despite threats from Chinese government and military officials, including a Chinese propagandist at a state-run news organization who effectively threatened that China could shoot down Pelosi’s plane.
The Washington Post published an op-ed from Pelosi shortly after she landed on the island, explaining her reason for going.
Pelosi noted that under the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. vowed to support defending Taiwan and that the act said that the U.S. would “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means … a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”
“Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience,” Pelosi wrote. “In recent years, Beijing has dramatically intensified tensions with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the U.S. Defense Department to conclude that China’s army is ‘likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force.’”
“The PRC has also taken the fight into cyberspace, launching scores of attacks on Taiwan government agencies each day. At the same time, Beijing is squeezing Taiwan economically, pressuring global corporations to cut ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan, and clamping down on tourism from the PRC,” Pelosi added. “In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.”