Asia Minute: China Has Economic Clashes with North AND South Korea

Sep 12, 2017

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As you heard earlier on NPR, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed another round of trade sanctions against North Korea. The move won the support of China, which is having trade issues of another kind with SOUTH Korea. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Relations between Seoul and Beijing have nosedived ever since a U.S. missile defense system was set up in South Korea.

Here’s a number to show you how much trade relations have cooled.

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport says airline traffic connecting Seoul with China fell by 45 percent from the middle of March through the end of July.

Here’s another indication of plunging economic ties: in the second quarter of this year, sales for the Chinese operations of Lotte Shopping fell by more than 90 percent compared to a year earlier.

Lotte has been singled out for retail retaliation because its parent company turned over a golf course to the South Korean government to house that missile defense system THAAD—the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

Beijing claims THAAD’s radar can reach into Chinese territory—and in the eyes of some of its residents and government officials, Lotte shares some of the blame.

Right now, of 112 Lotte Mart branches in China, only 25 are still in operation.

The company said Monday it is considering “various options”—including pulling out of the market.

Last week, another South Korean retailer, Shinsegae Group, announced it would sell its Chinese stores to a Thai company, and withdraw entirely from China.