Chinese foreign ministry on Monday said it has taken note of reports that K-pop group BTS’ fans in China are angry over its leader RM’s remarks on the Korean war.
Asked for a comment on the controversy during the regular press briefing, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “I want to say that we all should learn lessons from history and look forward to the future, hold dear peace and strengthen friendship.”
This comes after Chinese media reported that BTS’s acceptance speech for the General James A. Van Fleet Award upset the band’s Chinese fans. RM said the group was honoured to receive the award given to those who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of US-Korea relations.
He also said that the Korea Society’s 2020 Annual Gala is especially meaningful, as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women.”
According to Global Times, the two nations RM referred to are the US and South Korea and Chinese citizens “pointed out that the speech plays up to US, but the country played the role of aggressor in the war.”
While some fans were more understanding, others “insisted that there is no idol who is superior to the motherland,” Global Times added.
However, some Twitter users pointed out that the BTS leader did not even mention China and the award is given to those who promote US-Korea relations.
The controversy seems to have affected BTS’ commercial deals, according to BBC.
Adverts featuring BTS from companies including Samsung, Fila and Hyundai disappeared from a number of Chinese websites or social media platforms, BBC said, and added that it is unclear who removed them.
Posts featuring Samsung’s BTS special edition smartphones and earphones disappeared from Chinese e-commerce platforms Tmall and JD.com, according to Reuters.
BTS-related posts from companies like FILA and Hyundai also disappeared from their official Weibo accounts, Chinese users said, Reuters reported.
State-run Global Times said that some Chinese users applauded Samsung’s move on Weibo. “It proves Samsung cares about the Chinese market,” one user comments, according to Global Times.