Date: Dec 21, 2017
By: Echo Huang
Perhaps no other country felt the economic cost of China’s wrath as South Korea did this year.
By one estimate, China’s decision to boycott South Korea’s tourism industry over Seoul’s decision
to install a US-made anti-missile system cost the economy some 7.5 trillion won ($6.8 billion), according toSouth Korea’s National Assembly’s Budget Office.
Since 2013, China has been the largest source of foreign tourists to South Korea, and made up around half of the 17 million people from overseas who visited the country in 2016. But since Seoul and Beijing’s falling out, the number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea between March to October this year plunged more than 60% from the same period last year.
Relations between the two countries hit a low in March after Seoul refused to halt the deployment of the anti-missile system, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which Beijing deems a threat to its national security. As a result, China’s national tourism administration told travel agencies to suspend selling group packagesto South Korea.
Beijing also directed its ire more specifically against Korean conglomerate Lotte, after the company agreed to provide one of its golf courses near Seoul for the deployment of THAAD. For example, China has fined Lotte over its advertising practices, and shut down a large number of its supermarkets in the country for reasons like fire-code violations. [FULL STORY]