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Lotte Store Closures In China Reported Amid Political Tension

By March 7, 2017 at 7:54 am
China closes down Lotte stores (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

South Korean retailer giant Lotte has reported store closures in China. The announcement comes as tension continues to rise between the two countries over the U.S. missile defense system that might be built on East Asian country soil.

On Monday, Lotte confirmed that 23 of its China supermarket stores had been closed down. The locations spanned from Dandong, which is on China's North Korean border, to the east coast and southern Changzhou. This marked a massive immobilization on the group in its biggest overseas market.

Workers at three stores confirmed the closures, which were deemed as temporary. It was also noted that it was caused by fire-safety reasons.

The Anhui fire department took to its Sina Weibo microblog account to reveal that it had temporarily shut down two Lotte Mart stores over concerns of fire risks. The closure was said to be a part of a wider regional campaign over the last month that led to the closure of 30 stores that belong to several companies, including the South Korean retail giant.

The store closures are the latest in a series of incidents that affected South Korean companies in China. There have been cyber-attacks and sales bans on of travel tours to South Korea.

One publication described China's efforts as "trying to crush South Korea's economy." It had previously barred K-pop groups to perform in the country and now it has targeted Lotte. First, it started with fines across the country and now some of its stores were closed down.

This came after Lotte has agreed to a land swap with the government for the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. It is expected to be deployed on a segment of Lotte's golf course in the Seongju region.

With this, it is believed that the United States will be beginning the system's operations by the end of this year. Last week, a South Korean military official said that the deployment could be finished by August.

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