SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- China has recently banned imports of South Korean bidets, industry sources said Wednesday, amid concerns the Beijing government is retaliating against Seoul's move to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system.
China is believed to be economically retaliating against Seoul's decision in July to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korean soil early this year, although South Korea says the missile system will not target China but only counter threats from North Korea.
China has banned imports of South Korean cosmetics that are widely consumed by Chinese women influenced by the growing popularity of Korean pop culture in the world's most populous country.
Several Lotte Department Stores and its affiliated outlets in China have been under strict tax, safety and hygiene inspections since November, although Chinese authorities have denied any connection to THAAD.
Lotte, a South Korean retail giant, is expected to conclude a deal soon for the swap of a golf course in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, for a piece of land near Seoul owned by the Defense Ministry for the deployment of THAAD.
Chinese authorities rejected shipments of bidets made by 22 South Korean manufacturers on Dec. 20, citing poor power connection and instructions, a source said, noting China has disqualified bidets made by only 24 manufacturers with the other two being Taiwanese.
"China has recently been applying stricter safety standards on South Korean electronic bidets," another source said. "South Korean companies should get prepared for any disqualifications as Chinese authorities have been intensifying safety-related regulations while inspecting South Korean products."
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