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Govt. to boost financial aid for tourism amid THAAD row

South Korea will increase funding for the local tourism industry which could be hurt by China's decision to ban sales of tour packages in retaliation for the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system, the government said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it has decided to add another 50 billion won ($43.5 million) to the annual budget worth 550 billion won to help the tourism sector in case of financial difficulties.

The Korean cosmetics industry may be struck badly by the THAAD installment with the decreasing number of Chinese tourists. (Yonhap)
The Korean cosmetics industry may be struck badly by the THAAD installment with the decreasing number of Chinese tourists. (Yonhap)

The decision was made at a meeting with ruling party officials held on Tuesday, during which the government and lawmakers discussed ways to cope with the intensifying trade spat between Korea and China. China has lashed out at South Korea for the planned stationing of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, the ministry said.

Details on the increased spending have yet to be arranged, but the loans will be extended to those at higher risk, stemming from Beijing's hostile policies, it added. The government had planned to spend the first batch of some 300 billion won in the first half.

Beijing is seen as accelerating moves to restrict South Korean firms with business ties with China. Last week, Beijing told travel agencies to stop selling tours to South Korea, one of the latest in a series of what is seen as retaliatory acts against the THAAD deployment.

The ministry is scheduled to convene another consultation with industry officials to figure out the extent of damage expected from the current situation.

Last year, Chinese tourists accounted for nearly half of some 17.2 million foreigners who visited South Korea. (Yonhap)

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