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在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth
Land deal could cost Lotte Group dearly
    2017-February-28  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    THE Republic of Korea’s (ROK) retail giant Lotte Group has been at the center of the political storm raging between the ROK and China over the former’s decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system.

    Leotte Group’s board yesterday gave a green light to a ROK government-proposed deal which allows a golf course, currently owned by Lotte, to be used as the site for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.

    China has been strongly opposed the attempt of the United States and the ROK to deploy THAAD, deeming the move as a severe threat to its strategic interests, which will also have severe consequences for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

    A Xinhua commentary pointed out that the Chinese people will not support a company complicit in damaging China’s interests. If it allows the ROK government to deploy the THAAD system on the land it owns, Lotte will put itself in opposition to the Chinese people.

    Lotte, the ROK’s fifth-largest conglomerate, entered the Chinese market in 1994. It now has more than 120 branches in China in the retail sector alone, with its business covering sectors from food, retail, tourism, construction to finance and services.

    Company data show Chinese tourists also contributed 70 percent of Lotte’s overall sales in its duty-free shops in the ROK in the first quarter of last year.

    Lotte’s reliance on the Chinese market and Chinese consumers has prompted media in both countries to warn that its land swap deal, if approved, will cost it dearly.

    In an opinion poll conducted last Sunday by the website affiliated to the Beijing-based Global Times newspaper, 95.3 percent of the respondents said they would boycott Lotte if the deal goes ahead.

    Such a prospect will mean a slump in Lotte’s business in China, which will in turn deal a heavy blow to the ROK company.

    The ROK conglomerate’s trouble originates from a major strategic decision jointly made by the U.S. and ROK governments in July last year to deploy the U.S. missile defense system in the ROK.

    As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out during his meeting with his ROK counterpart Yun Byung-se on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, which ended in Germany last Sunday, one country’s security should not be built on the basis of harming the security of others.

    Jin Yong, a professor of international studies at Communication University of China, said Lotte Group could face Chinese consumer boycotts if it ignores China’s opposition to the deployment of THAAD.

    “Foreign companies should not earn money from Chinese people and at the same time pose a threat to China’s national security,” he said and then referred to the recent boycott of Japan’s APA hotel. The hotel sparked fury among Chinese and South Koreans after its CEO denied that the Nanjing Massacre and the forced recruitment of “comfort women” had ever happened.

    “Lotte is likely to suffer more losses than the Japanese hotel because the South Korean retailer relies much more heavily on its Chinese market,” said Jin, who had been a visiting scholar in Seoul for a year.

    Zhang Liangui, a professor of Korean studies at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said that if Lotte approves the land deal, it will face more difficulties in its development in China.

    In early February, Lotte said Chinese authorities had halted its construction of a multibillion dollar real estate project in the northeastern city of Shenyang, Liaoning Province, after a fire inspection.

    The company announced in early February that it closed its flagship store on Tmall, China’s leading online shopping platform.

    (SD-Agencies)

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