The South Korean government Friday vowed to work towards improving relations with China in light of escalating concerns of fraying relations on political, economic and cultural fronts due to an advanced missile defense system deployment here. They also denied news reports that China was possibly taking “retaliatory actions.”
“The government is keeping a keen eye on the Chinese media’s reaction and various measures carried out (by the Chinese government). We (the government) will work toward resolving this situation in an amicable fashion,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told reporters.
Beijing has openly bashed Seoul and Washington’s joint decision to station the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the country’s southern region of Seongju-gun, North Gyeongsang Province.
Local observers have raised the possibility that China, South Korea‘s biggest trading partner and the biggest consumer of its pop culture, may attempt to force disadvantages on South Korean business in its territory.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government decided to strip a Chinese travel agency of the right to handle South Korean business travelers’ visa issues. By issuing Chinese letters of invitation for Koreans, the agency had allowed travelers to obtain visas more easily.
Foreign Ministry officially denied rumors that China has ceased issuing visas or is refusing to receive applications for visas.
Chinese media outlets have also reportedly been showing a less favorable attitude toward Korean celebrities.
It was reported Thursday that Korean actress Yoo In-na had been cut from a Chinese TV series, with the related agencies not announcing the reasoning behind the measure.
Other rumors reported both by Korean and Chinese media recently told of events featuring Korean celebrities in China being canceled. Most rumors have been confirmed to be false.
South Korean Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Woo Tae-hee also denied speculation the latest reports were signs of Beijing’s retaliation.
“China has not taken any direct measure, nor have (we) suffered any damage from any actions,” he said during a National Assembly meeting.
He also explained that the visa-related development was a measure taken against a specific travel agency and not any measure against regular issuance of visas for Koreans.
By Yoon Min-sik