Newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in has vowed to champion the cause of Hallyu stars and reinstate K-pop in China, where it has been banned for almost a year.
The Korean president has promised to discuss the situation with the Chinese government, and if all goes well, the blanket ban on Hallyu will be lifted.
Trouble between China and South Korea brewed last year when the latter agreed to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a U.S Army anti-ballistic missile system. Unhappy with South Korea's decision, China retorted by banning all things Hallyu. As a result, South Korean movies, dramas, and music albums were banned.
The situation remains the same even today. Nearly 31 South Korean entertainment projects were stopped, canceled, or delayed between March 16 and April 15, and the numbers only continue to grow.
This has led to a fall in ratings, and the South Korean entertainment industry suffered a huge loss.
A week ago, president Moon Jae-in met with a few South Korean artists at SM Town at Coex Artium in Seoul.
Kim Young-min, CEO of SM Entertainment, who has popular labels such as Girls' Generation, Super Junior, and EXO, was also present at the event.
The president also met former teen pop star Kim Min-jong, Lee Teuk of the boy band Super Junior, and songwriter Kim Ea-na.
As reported by Meng News, Moon Jae-in stated that Hallyu has been the target of THAAD, and he aims to do his best to fix the issue by having discussions with China.
"China is such an important, big marketplace for Hallyu. I know many are experiencing difficulty because of the THAAD," he said.According to a report by Korea Herald last August, China's state-owned CCTV reported that the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has instructed broadcasting firms to ban South Korean celebrities from making appearances on television entertainment shows.
This led to the cancellation of several fan meetings. Hallyu stars Kim Woo-bin and Bae Suzy, who played the leads in the K-drama Uncontrollably Fond, had to call off their fan meeting in China.
Recently, even So Ji-sub had difficulty hosting his fan meeting in China. The Hallyu actor, to commemorate his 20th anniversary since debut, had planned to do an Asia tour to have a meet-and-greet with fans. However, he hasn't gotten a go-ahead from the Chinese government.
The agency planning his fan meeting said, "In China, events sometimes get delayed or canceled. However, this fan meeting was planned earlier on, so we didn't have any kind of problems before." The agency is guessing that this is another rebuttal against THAAD.
"The situation worsened, so the fan meeting may be canceled entirely," they said, according to a report by All K-Pop.
After the ban, Hallyu singers like Psy and Hwang Chi-yeol, appeared on Chinese shows with their faces blurred out, or completely edited out.
The talent agency that manages actors like Lee Kwang-soo, Kim Beom, and Kim Ji-won had to endure tremendous losses last year.
"The company has earned not a penny from China due to the political row over THAAD. We did occasionally receive inquiries for advertisements until the end of last year but no contract was actually signed," said Lee Jin-seong, chief of King Kong by Starship, according to a report by Korea Times.
Actors like Park Bo-gum, who starred in Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, and Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-wook, who starred in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, and Lee Min-ho, who played the lead in Legend of the Blue Sea, were also the victims of the THAAD fallout.
Actor Song Joong-ki, who captivated the Chinese audience in the K-drama Descendants of the Sun, was also a victim of the Hallyu ban. According to news website Sporela, he was zeroed in to play a role in Zhejiang TV's upcoming wuxia drama Legend of Shushan but was dropped at the last minute.
A handful of A-listers, including Jun Ji-hyun, Song Hye-kyo, Kim Soo-hyun, and Park Hae-jin were not as affected as the rest of the community. These stars appeared in outdoor billboards and printed media. None of them appeared on television though.
Among other top-tier stars who remained active in China over the past few years were Kim Tae-hee, Song Seung-heon, Rain, Kwon Sang-woo, Son Tae-young, Lee Joon-gi, Kim Ha-neul, Park Si-hoo, and Kim Beom.
Hopefully, after the newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-In holds talks with China, it will be business as usual in Hallyu town.[Featured Image by Joel Ryan, Ahn Young-joon, Kin Cheung, Vincent Yu, Chiang Ying-ying, Lo Sai Hung, Ahn Young-joon, JungJ Yeon-Je/AP Images]