The parent company of the Snickers candy bar has apologized on the Chinese social media platform Weibo after a stir was caused when one of its advertisements for a limited edition candy bar introduced in South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan called all three nations "countries."
The message in the advertisement was interpreted as Mars Wrigley calling for Taiwan's independence. According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. and Taiwan do not have diplomatic relations but pursue a "robust unofficial relationship." The U.S. government itself does not support Taiwan's independence.
Mars Wrigley wrote in its apology on Weibo, “Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business operations in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,” Reuters reported.
A 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, saying its local team has verified & aligned the official site and social media accounts to ensure accurate content. Snickers owner Mars Wrigley said it respects China's natl sovereignty and territorial integrity. pic.twitter.com/TshespKEf5— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 5, 2022
China ceded Taiwan to Japan "in perpetuity" in the 1894 Treaty of Shimonoseki, the New York Times reported in an Opinion section article in 1993. According to the article, after World War II when the Japanese empire was taken apart, Taiwan wasn't legally reincorporated to be a part of China.
According to the New York Times, the 1951 San Francisco treaty did not specify to whom the island's title would be transferred to after Japan relinquished sovereignty over Taiwan.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently completed a trip to Asia that was highly controversial for the Chinese government, where she made a stop in Taiwan part of her itinerary. The White House released remarks making it clear that the administration does not support an independent Taiwan, despite the optics of Pelosi's visit to meet with officials there.