South Korea shocked by China’s sanctions
We somehow got used to reading and discussing sanctions against our country and the response of Russia in this regard. Now nobody waits for the lifting of sanctions, and more and more experts claim that it will not even be beneficial for us now.
But not only sanctions wars are arranged against us! China sharply intensified economic sanctions against South Korea for the decision to host the US THAAD missile defense system. In parallel, the media of the Middle Kingdom launched a wave of criticism against Korea, urging readers to boycott Korean products. All this is accompanied by the growth of anti-Korean sentiment and at the household level. Judging by the reaction, Seoul did not expect such a harsh response, saying that it "does not contribute to the development of friendly relations."
In Beijing, all responsibility is shifted to South Korea and the United States.
A kind of trigger to tighten the pressure on Seoul from Beijing was the recent official signing by Lotte with the Korean Ministry of Defense of an agreement on the exchange of land.As a result, the Korean defense ministry obtained at its disposal a plot necessary for it to accommodate a US missile defense battery THAAD in Sonju County, North Kensan Province, in the south-east of the country. The US missile defense battery will be deployed as early as May-July of this year, arriving from Texas.
As expected, the brunt was delivered directly to the Lotte concern. The shopping centers, shops, and companies that are part of the concern have been hit by the full power of the Chinese administrative system, which arranges one inspection after another. As South Korean media reported, the shots began to roll on Lotte. In one of the major shopping centers of the concern, a ban was imposed on the import and sale of sweets and yoghurt. In Anhui province, the PRC authorities accused concern employees of violating the rules for using frequencies for wireless communication devices, imposing a large fine. According to representatives of regulatory bodies, it turned out that frequencies were used for which no permits were obtained. Sanitary, fire and other inspections follow one after another.
On the day of the announcement of the decision on the exchange of areas between Lotte and the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan, the concern’s Chinese website underwent a hacker attack and soon ceased its work.Ads for the sale of South Korean concerns, Lotte, Samsung and Hyundai, have been removed from a number of leading Internet portals. There were reports that many Chinese sites suddenly disappeared sections that allowed you to buy Korean goods, listen to music or watch movies from Korea. A number of Chinese companies that previously worked with Korean concerns began to unilaterally terminate contracts and refuse deliveries, although this cooperation was beneficial for them.
At the same time, a large number of Chinese media have unanimously criticized Seoul and Washington. The Renmin Jibao editions and a number of other influential newspapers in their editorial articles devoted to the missile defense issue in Korea stated that "the case may come to a suspension of bilateral relations." Although these words are not made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, but it is obvious that they reflect a serious discontent in the ranks of the PRC leadership with the situation.
The edition of the Global Times urged the Chinese to stop shopping at Lotte stores. Another Chinese newspaper noted that South Korean duty-free shops receive 70 percent of their income from Chinese tourists, but now, as the newspaper warned, it’s time for Korean stores to get ready to work with only 30 percent of previous profits.A number of newspapers explicitly stated the following: "If you are Chinese, then you must refuse to shop at Lotte stores. Korea must understand the seriousness of the situation."
These sentiments received support from the Chinese public. According to the South Korean media, a number of news stories took place, where the Chinese in front of the Korean channel cameras said: "We refuse to shop at Korean stores, since Korea decided to mix US missile defense, which threatens the security of our country."
Anti-Korean sentiment began to spread at the household level. Inscriptions in Chinese and Korean have appeared in some Chinese restaurants: "We do not serve clients from South Korea!" In front of the shops and department stores Lotte began to pass pickets with critical remarks about the group’s decision on US missile defense.
It is not limited to the sphere of the economy and the media. China's military experts now promise that Beijing will respond in the military sphere. "The South Korean region, where the US missile defense battery will be located, will be included in the list of targets for a strike using our strategic forces," a military expert said in an interview with a Chinese publication.
This harsh reaction of China shocked South Korea, in the media of which a hurt-disappointed tone prevails.The Koreans also note that the PRC is likely to only increase pressure even more when the components of the missile defense battery begin to arrive in Korea in May-June of this year.
The future of Lotte in China is now in doubt. Until now, for the concern, work in the Celestial Empire has been going very well. In China, there are already five large department stores, 16 malls and 99 Lotte shopping centers. The concern planned to expand the network even more, but now it is difficult to say what will happen next. The concern has made its choice, and therefore now the question is whether it can survive and maintain at least a reduced presence in China.
Official Seoul has already stated that such actions of the PRC "do not contribute to the development of friendly bilateral relations."
If earlier Chinese officials in response to Koreans' complaints about “unjust inspections” shrugged, saying that they could not interfere in the work of the controlling authorities, now Beijing’s tone has become more rigid. "We will take all measures that are necessary to ensure our security and protect our interests. All responsibility for any conflicts lies with South Korea and the United States, who have decided to deploy a missile defense system," said a spokesman for the PRC Foreign Ministry.
Chinese experts are also quite straightforward.“We warned the Koreans that they would not get away with it and that our answer would gain strength as the time when the US missile defense system appeared. Now they are watching it. We are doing what we promised, there’s nothing to be surprised at.” said an expert from the state scientific institute of the PRC. At the same time, he did not hide the fact that "further it will be even worse for Korea."
Political analysts say that the decision on THAAD has finally undermined any desire on the part of the Russian Federation and China to render assistance to Seoul in the North Korean direction. In particular, Moscow and Beijing, as the Coreia Times notes, can, without violating UN sanctions, at the same time begin to interpret them in such a way that there will be no pressure on the DPRK.
As it became known, South Korean President Park Geun-hye will try to reassure the prime ministers of Russia and China during the next ASEM summit, which will be held July 15-16 in Ulan Bator. The South Korean leader is scheduled to meet with the heads of government of China and the Russian Federation, where Puck intends to assure that THAAD is “exclusively defensive" and "not threatening to China and Russia weapons."