Tense Relations Threaten Concerts

A group of opposition lawmakers from South Korea traveled to China on Aug. 8 to talk to officials there about China’s actions regarding a missile defense system deployed jointly by the U.S. and South Korea. SK President Park Geun-hye has objected strongly to the visit. 

Photo: Chinatopix via AP
Chinese anger at South Korea over its decision to deploy an U.S. anti-missile defense system appears to be threatening everything from appearances by the stars of K-Pop to future cooperation on North Korea at the United Nations.

The team of politicians say their main objective is to “calm” China down, since the People’s Republic has already started actions to curb South Korean economic activity in their country focused on entertainment. Though the missile defense system targets North Korea, China sees it as destabilizing in the region. China’s actions have already adversely affected entertainment-related shares.

SM Entertainment, which handles a number of K-pop groups popular in China, immediately saw its stock price decrease by 5.3 percent. Shares of YG Entertainment, which represents world-famous rapper-singer Psy, fell a whopping 18 percent.

The South China Morning Post also reported that Chinese TV stations will not add any new South Korean dramas to their roster of programs at the command of the State Administration for Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television. A representative on one TV station told the newspaper that “we would not get approval” if they submitted plans to air new SK series.

In addition, Korean stars will not be allowed to appear in Chinese films, television dramas, stage musicals, variety shows or advertisements. Despite these reports, some media are saying that there is no blanket ban in effect, which means Chinese authorities can claim they are not restricting trade. Joint China-South Korean projects, for instance, have apparently not been affected. But as one South Korean equities manager told Bloomberg, the actions have created “uncertainty among investors.”

“South Korean entertainment companies are mostly relying on businesses in China,” the manager said. “And if they can’t do large-scale concerts or shows, it would be a problem for them.”