Posted February. 28, 2017 06:59,
Updated February. 28, 2017 07:04
The board of Lotte International, the owner of the golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, approved the contract to exchange a site for the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system with a military site in Namyangju in Gyeonggi Province on Monday. THAAD is expected to be deployed between May and July at the earliest. The controversy over the deployment of THAAD has been concluded in 32 months since Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the then commander of the U.S. forces in Korea, said in June 2014, “I requested Washington to deploy THAAD on the Korean Peninsula.”
Lotte’s execution of the promised exchange is a natural decision as it is basic corporate ethics. Nevertheless, Chinese state-run media outlets are encouraging people to boycott Lotte, saying, “Leave China to take THAAD (The Global Times)” and “THAAD will bring it a bad luck (Xinhua News Agency).” Lotte has been directly and indirectly retaliated by China as evidenced by China’s tax audit on Lotte, the closure of Lotte Super in Beijing and the suspension of the construction of Lotte World in China. However, economy cannot stand without security and a company cannot stand without a country.
Lotte, which invests around 10 trillion won (8.8 billion U.S. dollars) in China, employs some 20,000 Chinese people across its 24 affiliates and over 100,000 people if the employees of suppliers are included. It is not sufficient to say “Thank you” to Lotte for China, which is struggling with a slowing economy and job creation. The Lotte bashing will only increase damage to China. It is why The Global Times, a state-run English newspaper of China, said on Thursday, “Boycotting and sanctioning Lotte could rather harm China.”
Global politics is harsh and if you look weak, you become a pushover and are pushed even harder. It is a way to give trust to the international community to deploy THAAD promptly and firmly without being intimated by China’s narrow-minded threats. At the same time, we should not overreact to Beijing’s retaliation but rather try to persuade Beijing while keeping our security interest. The Korean government should make its best diplomatic efforts to protect the private sector from unwanted sudden side effects from the THAAD issue.
The National Intelligence Service said on Monday that the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader’s half-brother, was a terrorist attack led by North Korea’s state security ministry and foreign ministry. THAAD is a minimum level of defense in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats at a time when the reclusive regime is escalating the risk of biochemical weapons as well as missile launches. Local residents and civic groups opposing the deployment of the defense system could hopefully show some maturity thinking about security first.