Cultural cooperation between South Korea, China expected to resume next year despite THAAD standoff

South Korea's cultural and entertainment companies are keeping in touch with China's companies in an effort to resume exchanges and cooperation in 2018, which were interrupted by the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, the Aju Business Daily reported recently.

The Aju Business Daily report said that the producer of a South Korean film named "Be with God" had received enquiries from China about the import of the film's copyright. The film will be premiered on December 20.

The report also said that another South Korean film production firm met with Chinese importers privately on the sidelines of last month's Pusan International Film Festival. "The two sides believe that the overall environment (for the exchanges and cooperation in the areas of culture and entertainment between South Korea and China) is turning good," the report said.

Many Chinese companies are preparing for the introduction of South Korea's cultural programs, with some waiting for the review of their application for the import of the South Korean cultural contents by China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the report quoted a South Korean entertainment company as saying.

Since Seoul decided to install the US-made THAAD anti-missile system, China has been criticized by the global media for suspending the screening of South Korean films and banning the entertainment activities of South Korean stars.

The Chinese government has long denied the accusations. At a regular press conference held earlier this month, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of China's foreign ministry, told reporters that he has never heard of the Chinese ban on the cultural exchanges between China and South Korea.

On the sidelines of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October in Beijing, Zhang Hongsen, deputy head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, China's top media regulator, defended the Chinese government, saying that the cultural exchange programs between China and South Korea were progressing in varying degrees.

The Aju Business Daily report came before a meeting between the foreign ministers of China and South Korea last week. During the meeting, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha pledged that Seoul would not consider additional THAAD deployments, would not join the US-led missile defense system and would not develop the trilateral military alliance between the US, Japan and South Korea.

Experts said Kang's commitments stemmed from the fears that Seoul would be mired in a diplomatic dilemma amid Pyongyang's escalated nuclear provocations and that South Korea's economy would be badly damaged due to its close trade ties with China.

After South Korea decided to deploy the THAAD anti-missile system, which is considered by China as a big threat to its national security, Beijing responded with implicit economic retaliation, cancelling tours to South Korea, pulling South Korean soap operas off the air and disrupting activities of South Korean businesses in China.

After September 7 when the launchers of the THAAD anti-missile system were officially deployed, the market capitalization of 10 South Korean enterprises reduced by 1.4 trillion South Korean won on the second day, according to, the website of the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.

In September, South Korean news organizations reported the decision of Lotte Group, a South Korean retail giant, to sell its money-losing Lotte Mart supermarkets in China, saying that it was a result of China's boycott against South Korea's companies doing business in China since Seoul decided to install the controversial THAAD defense system last year.

Lotte Group has been a target of the harshest attack in China since it agreed to offer a self-owned golf course as the deployment site for the THAAD defense system in a land swap agreement signed with the South Korean defense ministry in February.

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