Support for Taiwan after China ban
The de facto Canadian embassy in Taiwan on Tuesday praised the quality of pineapples grown on the island, depicting photographs of top diplomats in Taipei with the fruit after an import ban by China.
Referencing a tweet by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu for people around the world to “rally behind the #Freedompineapple,” the Canadian Trade Office, on Taipei's Facebook page, used the same hashtag on a picture of its chief, Jordan Reeves, posing with colleagues around a pineapple pizza.
“We in the Canadian Office like pineapple pizza, especially pineapples from Taiwan!” it wrote, adding that the idea to put pineapple on a pizza was invented by a Canadian in 1962.
The unusually flavoured diplomacy came in response to China's declaration last week it was stopping the import of Taiwanese pineapples. It cited “harmful creatures” it said could come with the fruit.
Infuriated Taiwanese authorities called the ban a political move to further pressure the island, a charge that China denied.
While neither Canada nor the United States, like most countries, has formal diplomatic ties with the Chinese-claimed island, both have their own disputes with Beijing over human rights, trade and other issues.
The Trudeau government has been at loggerheads with Beijing over the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held on espionage charges since December 2018.
Canadian officials have decried their detention as political retribution or “hostage diplomacy” by China, since their arrests came shortly after the RCMP detained Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, on an extradition request from the United States.
Global Affairs Canada did not respond by deadline to a request for comment about the pineapple defence.
While Taiwan is best known internationally for its thriving tech companies, the sub-tropical island has a flourishing fruit industry. Last year, more than 90 per cent of its exported pineapples went to China.
The American Institute in Taiwan, under the hashtags #realfriendsrealprogress and #pineapplesolidarity, posted Facebook pictures of pineapples on their Taipei premises, including of its director Brent Christensen with three on his desk.
“Have you bought your pineapples? We have!” it wrote.
Local politicians have, meanwhile, posted pictures of themselves in fields with farmers and tucking into the fruit on their social media pages, encouraging domestic consumers as well as other countries to pick up the slack left by China.
The country's president, Tsai Ing-wen, asserted China had enacted unfair trade practices, pointing out that 99.97 per cent of imported pineapple batches passed inspection. In retaliation, the
(EAT PINEAPPLES) WHETHER IN A SMOOTHIE, A CAKE, OR FRESHLY CUT ON A PLATE.
president announced more supports for pineapple farmers and pledged to expand the fruit's export market.
“Data proves this sudden unilateral decision is not based on health or fair trade,” Tsai said, urging people to eat Taiwan's pineapples “whether in a smoothie, a cake, or freshly cut on a plate.”
The latest move by China follows a string of events that signal tensions between the mainland and Taiwan are rising. Recently, Chinese military activity increased on the island and Beijing is highly reactive to any international behaviour recognizing Taiwan's sovereignty.