On February 27, Xinhua News Agency dispatched a commentary with a metaphor indicating that the Lotte Group’s approval of a land swap deal to enable South Korean authorities to deploy the controversial U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was tantamount to “stabbing China in the back.” Earlier that day, the board of an affiliate of South Korea’s Lotte Group approved the land swap with the government thus enabling the authorities to deploy the controversial U.S. missile defense system.
The commentary also stated that Lotte’s decision was the same as “acting as the paws of a tiger.” Xinhua made it clear that with regard to such a company as Lotte, China does not welcome it!
It continued to review the huge business opportunities that Lotte had enjoyed in recent years as one of the top five South Korean enterprises. Lotte operates supermarkets and duty free shops, among other lines of business, in 24 provinces in China.
Xinhua‘s commentary refuted the possible justification that Lotte, as a South Korean company, can hardly be blamed when cooperating with the government on issues related to national security. It argued that China has offered solutions that would address concerns from both countries; yet the South Korean side has turned a deaf ear and accelerated the deployment in full cooperation with the United States. Chinese consumers, citing China’s national security as well, can definitely say no to the products of such a company.
The commentary went on to observe that, in recent days, the THAAD deployment has been met with protests in South Korea. Lotte’s decision not only hurts the Chinese people’s feelings; within South Korea, it will lose connections, prestige, and its image as its move lacks public support.
In closing the commentary, Xinhua‘s dispatch seemed to contradict its observation that THAAD lacks public support domestically. It told Lotte that it would not be able to book profits while scoring points in domestic politics and that Chinese consumers will give it the answer if Lotte itself cannot figure out such a simple question.
Source: Xinhua News Agency, February 27, 2017