BTS are facing criticism in China after the K-pop band’s leader, RM, discussed their country’s solidarity with the United States during the Korean war.
As reported by The Guardian, RM cited the “history of pain” shared between South Korea and the US, who fought together in the 1950-53 conflict, during an acceptance speech for the boy band’s contribution to US-South Korea relations from the Korea Society, a New York-based non-profit organisation. China aided North Korean forces during the war, which was eventually stopped due to an armistice.
“We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women,” RM said.
South Korean boy band #BTS is strongly condemned on #China's social media for their speech after receiving James A. Van Fleet Award. Chinese netizens said the band's totally one-sided attitude to the #KoreanWar hurts their feelings and negates history. pic.twitter.com/NaycIBzJwH
His comments received backlash on Chinese social media, with demands to end the band’s commercial interests in China. On the social media platform Weibo, where BTS have five million fans, posts from companies like Fila and Hyundai, who have endorsement deals with the band, disappeared.
BTS-branded Samsung headphones and smartphones were also taken off the e-commerce platforms Tmall and JD.com, The Financial Times reports. An official within the cultural ministry in Seoul anonymously told the newspaper that “given the sensitive modern history of north east Asia, anti-Korean sentiment in China can resurface anytime due to seemingly trivial comments”.
“Chinese netizens said the band’s totally one-sided attitude to the Korean war hurts their feelings and negates history,” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper tweeted.