During an interview to promote his new film Fast & Furious 9, US wrestling superstar John Cena apologised to Chinese fans for referring to Taiwan as a country.

While speaking to Taiwanese television station TVBS earlier this month, the 44-year-old stated that Taiwan would be the first “country” to see the latest Fast & Furious film.

Taiwan is regarded by China as a province, a claim that the majority of the self-governing, democratic island denies.

Also Read: Mark Ruffalo regrets supporting Palestine

Cena, like a slew of other overseas celebrities, enraged an increasingly patriotic Chinese audience with his remarks regarding Taiwan.

“I made one blunder. I apologise profusely for my oversight “In a video broadcast on his Weibo account, Cena stated in Mandarin. Weibo is a Twitter-like microblog popular in China.

Read More: آسٹریلیا کا رواں ہفتے افغانستان میں سفارت خانہ بند کرنے کا اعلان

“I have to say now something that is really essential – I love and respect China and the Chinese people,” John Cena remarked, omitting Taiwan.

Since its release on May 21, the film has been a box office success in mainland China.

According to US entertainment daily Variety, China contributed for $135 million of the movie’s $162 million in revenue over the weekend.