(CNN)Ever since Seoul agreed last year to host a US missile defense system, South Korean pop stars, musicians and companies have felt a distinct chill in China.
This week, China took aim at Lotte, a South Korean conglomerate that owns the golf course on which the THAAD system will be located. China sees THAAD as a severe threat to its security interests, but South Korea and US see it a key to defending against potential threats from North Korea.
China’s official news agency, Xinhua, in a fiercely worded commentary Monday, said the Lotte board would “hurt the Chinese people” and the “consequences could be severe” if it goes ahead and finalizes a land-swap deal.
“Lotte stands to lose Chinese customers and the Chinese market. That would be a very large slice out of their business pie,” said the commentary, which did not carry a byline.