South Korean K-pop group BTS is facing backlash in China over comments made by a member about the Korean War.
In a speech, the band leader, known as RM, referred to the “pain history” South Korea shared with the United States over the 1950-53 conflict in which the two countries fought together.
But his comments angered Chinese social media users because he supported the North in the Beijing war.
The dispute also appears to have affected trade agreements.
Ads containing BTS from companies such as Samsung, sports brand Fila and carmaker Hyundai have disappeared from many Chinese websites or social media platforms, although it is not clear who removed them.
K-Pop has a large following in China and BTS – one of the most successful groups – is no different, with at least five million fans on China’s popular social media platform Weibo.
- BTS members become multi-millionaires
- ‘No words, no tears’ as BTS tops billboard
RM’s comments came as BTS received an award celebrating relations between the United States and South Korea.
“We will always remember the history of pain that our two countries shared together and the countless sacrifices of men and women,” he said.
But his remarks provoked an outcry in China, with Weibo users acknowledging the losses their country had suffered.
According to China’s state-run Global Times newspaper, “Chinese netizens say the band’s arbitrary attitude to the Korean War hurts their feelings and rejects history,” and that the comments were designed to “play” with the US audience.
“They are [BTS] According to the Reuters news agency, an angry customer commented on Weibo.
However, while many people on Twitter defended the group, the RM speech made no direct reference to China.
The seven-member BTS is world-famous and has broken many records. Earlier this year, their single Dynamite became the most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours, with 101.1 million views per day.