Korean Ports Brace for China Pullback
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 05, 2017,
Mar 05, 2017, 13:05
The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST) confirmed to NK News on Friday that the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) had called local travel agencies in Beijing and given verbal instructions to stop sales of all travel packages to South Korea online and offline.
Meanwhile, James Kilby, a U.S. rear admiral, said while on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the disputed South China Sea that the United States will continue to patrol the waters "to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight".
The U.S. and the South Korea plan to deploy the THAAD system by the end of 2017.
Some opposition lawmakers raised suspicion that Choi may have affected the abrupt THAAD deployment decision, citing circumstantial evidences such as the undated meeting between Choi or Choi's ex-husband and the chief of Lockheed Martin, the THAAD manufacturer. Snack maker Weilong Foodstuffs Co. said it would no longer sell its products in Lotte supermarkets.
Chinese people and media have reacted with rage after Korea's Defense Ministry signed a land swap deal on February 28 with Lotte Group that allows authorities to deploy THAAD on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul. Of the 17-million people who visited South Korea past year, 8-million were Chinese. The Japanese and South Korean and foreign ministries could not be reached for comment. This is expected to deal a direct blow to South Korea's tourism industry. At present, millions of Chinese are working for more than 23,000 South Korean companies in China and South Koreans are one of the largest groups of inbound tourists in China, but these numbers can drop due to the retaliatory measures.
On Friday, investors concerned about possible retaliation dumped shares in South Korean companies that rely on trade with China. The report openly stated that North Korean regime continues its methodical effort to develop the nuclear military program and the means to deliver corresponding weapons.
Chicago Tribune has reported that China, despite its apparent cooperation of late with worldwide efforts to sanction North Korea, China has instead served as Pyongyang's economic lifeline, purchasing the vast majority of its coal, gold, and iron ore. Ties between South Korea and China have been strained, as the missile defense networking between South Korea, the United States and Japan could usher in an era of New Cold War in Northeast Asia.
The Global Times tabloid, which hews to the Beijing regime's line, said: "Chinese consumers should become the main force in teaching Seoul a lesson, punishing the nation through the power of the market".
China has intensified a crackdown so-called zero-dollar tours to Korea, where big tour groups are herded through the country for little money but heavily pushed into shopping. "We are against any Chinese attempt to intervene in any decision making process on the Korean peninsula", said Chulhong Kim, a conservative activist and associate professor at the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary in Seoul.
Lotte also said that a auto with the phrase "Get out of China, Lotte" had been parked at the entrance of a distributor's store.