(Yicai Global) March 7 -- South Korean supermarket conglomerate Lotte Group, which is caught up in the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system, is also embroiled in a sea of troubles in China in consequence. South Korea's government has requisitioned land Lotte owns for THAAD deployment, and this has sparked protests and a consumer boycott of Lotte within China. In a statement sent to Chinese official media the company said it "has no choice" about the agreement, which is a political decision, and that it always harbors a deep kindness towards China.
Chinese protests against Lotte have spawned a 'news' item spread on China's internet that quotes Shin Dong-bin, company chairman as allegedly saying, "I'm not worried, they will still buy our products once we give discounts. I am quite optimistic about Lotte's prospects in China. They will only boycott for a short period, like a gust of wind, just as they did before."
Lotte Group dismisses this report as a false rumor and denies ever accepting any media interview about THAAD and its PRC business in a statement it sent to China's official Global Times.
The statement also says the land grab is a political decision by its country, with which Lotte as an enterprise has no choice but to comply. It further recites that Lotte has invested a large sum to support development of China's western regions and the revitalization of its rustbelt northeast, per the guidance of Chinese government policies. It also says Lotte has invested over USD1.45 million (CNY10 million) in public benefit projects.
The statement ends "We understand the present situation, but are greatly concerned over the spread of this fake news, and will apply to relevant authorities for regulation and aid."
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang countered that China welcomes foreign enterprises -- including those from South Korea -- who invest and set up business in China, and will protect their legitimate rights in interests in the country. At the same time, such enterprises must also comply with relevant laws and regulations when developing their China businesses, he advised.