Seoul will strengthen its response against China's "discriminatory actions" toward the South Korean companies, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday.
"The South Korean government is closely watching the retaliatory measures taken by the Chinese authorities, and will address the sufferings of the South Korean companies from China's discrimination," Joo Hyung-hwan, the head of South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, said during a visit of the United States, according to Yonhap.
Joo threatened to act against any moves violating World Trade Organization (WTO) policies and South Korea-China free trade agreement in accordance with international law.
The minister's statement came as many Chinese travel agencies have stopped offering tourism products for visit to South Korea partly due to a land swap deal signed by Lotte Group and South Korea's defense ministry to facilitate the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. Beijing has condemned the THAAD deployment as a threat to its security interests and regional stability.
South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will reportedly hold a work conference on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with the impact China's counter measures have on its industries of cosmetics, food and electronic products. The ministry will also launch a daily investigation into exports to China and the situation of the South Korean exporters doing business with China.
In a talk show on Sunday, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said that the South Korean government will make every effort to complete the deployment of the THAAD system within this year. Yun also criticized China for imposing economic sanctions on the South Korean companies due to the THAAD deployment while claiming to champion free trade.
In an interview with the Global Times, Lv Chao, a researcher at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said that South Korea should be held responsible for the Chinese people's anger and the current situation because of its insistence to deploy the THAAD system.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has said that the success of foreign companies (referring to the South Korean companies) doing business in China ultimately depends on the country's market and consumers.
According to media reports, several Lotte supermarkets in China have been ordered to suspend operations due to allegations of violating the country's fire control rules.