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Lotte's land offer for THAAD may become nightmare for business

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-28 08:57

Lotte's land offer for THAAD may become nightmare for business

People gather to protest the land swap contract between the military and Lotte Group in Seoul, South Korea, Feb 27, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

SEOUL - Lotte Group, South Korea's biggest operator of department stores and duty free shops, decided Monday to offer land for the US missile shield deployment, endangering its operation both in China and South Korea.

The decision could turn into a nightmare for Lotte, which depends heavily on Chinese tourists to South Korea for revenue from duty free stores. The South Korea's fifth-biggest conglomerate is struggling with businesses in China after entering the world's biggest consumer market in 1994.

Lotte International, a Lotte unit possessing a golf course where the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery is set to be sited, held a board of directors meeting to approve the deal, under which the golf course will be exchanged for military land near the capital Seoul.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July last year to deploy one THAAD battery in southeast South Korea by the end of this year. The site was changed in September into the golf course amid strong oppositions from residents, who have yet to be appeased by the alteration.

Seoul's defense ministry said the contract can be formally signed as early as Tuesday. The THAAD deployment will gain speed as the land swap deal was the last remaining obstacle to the launch of the installation process.

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