Beijing imposes suspension orders on Lotte stores
Beijing imposes suspension orders on Lotte stores

China’s protest against the planned deployment
to South Korea of the THAAD missile defense system is intensifying by the day. Hit hardest by Beijing’s retaliatory action
is Korea’s largest retailer, Lotte Group, after it agreed to swap land for the deployment. Kim Hyesung reports. A dozen of Lotte Group’s retail stores in
China were closed after inspections by Chinese authorities. According to Yonap News Agency on Monday,
Lotte Mart, which operates over 100 stores in China, was forced to close more than a
dozen of its branches for violating fire safety regulations. This comes amid rising tensions between Seoul
and Beijing over the deployment of THAAD to Korea. Just last week, China’s tourism ministry instructed
tour operators in the country to stop selling tour packages to Korea starting March 15th,
and numerous Chinese state media outlets have urged Chinese consumers to boycott Korean
products. Lotte Group has been hit the hardest by Beijing’s
apparent retaliation measures, after the retail giant signed a land swap deal last Tuesday
with Korea’s military in order to station the THAAD battery in one of the group’s golf
courses. –
“Beijing’s retaliatory measures over THAAD are growing at a rapid pace. China is Korea’s number one trading partner,
with more than 25% of Korea’s exports going into China. But Korea is also China’s number four importer. Worsening trade relations between the two
won’t benefit China, either. As for now, we don’t know how far Beijing
will go, but it is very worrisome.” Amid growing pressure, Lotte Group executives
held an emergency meeting on Sunday to come up with countermeasures, seeking help from
the Korean government to minimize THAAD-related damage through talks with China. Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.

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