[THE INVESTOR] South Korea has complained to the World Trade Organization about China’s moves against the country’s companies, which are apparently in retaliation against Seoul’s decision to deploy a US anti-missile system on the Korean Peninsula.
“We officially asked WTO last Friday to review the possibility of China’s violation of trade agreements regarding China’s measures against South Korea’s tourism and retail companies,” Joo Hyung-hwan, minister of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, told the parliament on March 20.
Since South Korea decided to allow the US to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea, China has been taking various measures.
China asked local travel companies to stop selling South Korea-related tour programs, including visa services, from March 15. The order was made orally.
Following Chinese authorities’ suspension orders and boycotts by consumers, some 90 percent of retail stores of Lotte Group in China have been unable to operate. Lotte had been hit the most overtly by China’s apparent THAAD retaliation after it approved a land-swap deal with the military for stationing the THAAD system earlier this year.
While political analysts see that China is taking incremental measures against Seoul’s decision to allow the US missile defense system aimed at countering North Korea’s threats, China officially denies such allegations.
“China would not admit that the measures are a retaliation over the THAAD deployment, but the (South Korean) government has to point out the probability,” Joo said.
By Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)