• Lotte Stores in China

Lotte Stores in China (Photo : Getty Images)

South Korean store chain Lotte Group called as "irrational, fabricated rumors" reports which circulated on Sina Weibo that its chairman Shin Dong-bin was interviewed by Global News Eye, a South Korean news portal.

In a statement sent to the Global Times, the company denied granting an interview about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system or the group's business in China, to a news portal, which it said does not exist.

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The post, which went viral on Chinese social media Weibo on Saturday, March 4, claimed that a South Korean news portal interviewed Shin in which he allegedly said that he is not bothered by Chinese protests as "they are philistines and lack courage and integrity," and that the Chinese will buy goods from Lotte once they cut prices.

Under an agreement signed on Feb. 28, Lotte has agreed to provide land to the South Korean military for the THAAD deployment, which angered many Chinese netizens who said they will boycott Lotte stores in the country.

Following the agreement, protests against Lotte snowballed as many Chinese firms engaged in car, food and cosmetics sectors started to boycott and end their partnerships with South Korean partners.

Last week, Chinese snack maker Weilong, announced on its official Weibo account that "we are withdrawing our products from Lotte Mart's stores in China gradually, and we will not cooperate with Lotte anymore."In a statement, Lotte said that the agreement is a political decision and the company "has no choice".

The company, however, expressed its continued cooperation with the government, the report said.

"Lotte has invested a great sum in the country's policies to develop the Western region and revitalize the Northeast provinces. Before seeing any profits from these investments, the group also contributed more than 10 million yuan ($1.45 million) to public projects in recent years," said Lotte.

In a news conference on Thursday, March 2, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Sun Jiwen reaffirmed the importance of the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

"China welcomes foreign companies, including those from South Korea, to set up businesses in China and will protect foreign-funded companies' legal rights and interests on the premise that their operation in China is in line with related laws and regulations," Sun said.