Korean officials are celebrating a “partial lifting” of China’s ban on Korean content as the 2018 arthouse film Hotel By The River premieres on Tencent Video.
Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol is claiming credit with his senior presidential secretary for press affairs Kim Eun-hye telling reporters on November 22 as per a Variety report: “A Korean film has been aired recently on a Chinese OTT (Over The Top) after the six-year ban. We hope that this small gesture will lead to big, meaningful progress in the future of the bilateral relations of the two countries since the recent summit.”
Adding that Chinese President Xi had agreed with Korea’s view that Chinese and Korean youth should have more interaction during a meeting between the two leaders at the G20 Summit in Bali, the secretary concluded: “China responded favourably to Korea with the Chinese OTT releasing the Korean movie.”
China enacted the boycott on Korean content following a 2018 diplomatic falling out that resulted from the deployment of US Terminal High Altitude Defense missile systems in South Korea. The South Korean government defended the deployment as a necessary reaction to North Korean nuclear threats, but the ban was nonetheless enacted and saw Korean conglomerate Lotte withdrawing from the country.
While state-owned TV groups China Central Television (CCTV) and South Korean public broadcaster KBS announced a cooperation agreement in February last year, the release of Hotel By The River on Tencent Video represents the most significant progress in reopening relations between China and South Korea.
Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times also announced last year that the long-delayed Catman film starring EXO’s Sehun would be released on March 14 following the postponement of its 2017 release date due to the boycott, but the film was later postponed indefinitely.