K-pop has become an unintended victim in South Korea’s THAAD missile defense conflict with China. Since South Korea announced that it would host the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) unit in July, the Chinese government has publicly opposed Korea’s decision, arguing that it would upset strategic stability in the region, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 16, 2016
The market for hallyu (한류), or Korean pop culture, in mainland China has not been faring well following news of Korea’s decision. Data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) indicates that not one Korean film has aired in China since September 2015, when the Korean movie Assassination made its premiere, according to Yonhap News. Korea Times also reports that no Korean entertainers have entered China since October. Even a promotional video for a Korean War film was rejected from being shown in China, and South Korean performers have had shows cancelled in China or have been replaced with Chinese actors or actresses, such as when Chinese actress Angelababy replaced Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun for a modeling gig.
— Kpop Herald (@Kpop_Herald) November 25, 2016
Bloomberg reports that stocks for some K-pop companies have fallen since Korea agreed to THAAD. Indeed, since Korea announced its decision on July 13, stocks for SM Entertainment, which manages K-pop groups such as Girls Generation, fell by more than 30%. The Korean newspaper Dong-a also reports that the China-Korea conflict over THAAD has hit the K-pop market hard, stating that “[a]ccording to Chinese entertainment media outlets, the ban is put implicitly without an official document.” These cases strengthen suspicion that China is prohibiting South Korean entertainers from performing in the mainland.
Despite these claims, the Chinese government has not officially announced that it would ban Korean performers and entertainment from the country. “I have never heard about any restriction on the ROK, and the Chinese side is always positive to people-to-people and cultural exchanges with the country,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a press conference on Monday, according to China News Service.
The THAAD missile defense system has not yet been put into operation. Apart from K-pop, President-elect Trump’s foreign policy and South Korea’s president scandal could also influence the outcome of the THAAD missile conflict.
Let’s all hope for a peaceful resolution to this conflict, so we can get our Korean soaps back.
By Abby Ordillas
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