April 16, 2024

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Blackpink’s Vietnam concert was jeopardised due to the China map controversy.

The organizers of Blackpink’s concerts in Vietnam have issued an apology after their website featured a map that is used by Beijing to assert its extensive claims in the “South China Sea.” Blackpink, a popular Korean pop group, is scheduled to perform two concerts in Vietnam later this month. Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesman expressed discontent with the map displayed on the website of the concert promoter, iME, stating that it was an unacceptable and sensitive matter.

The controversial map, known as the nine-dash line, is utilised by China to demarcate its territorial assertions in the South China Sea. Several countries, including Vietnam, challenge China’s claim to almost the entire region. “Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs” spokesperson, Pham Thu Hang, emphasised that the promotion and use of materials featuring the nine-dash line within Vietnam violate the country’s laws and are deemed unacceptable. Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture has initiated an investigation into the incident.

In response to the backlash, iME, headquartered in Beijing, pledged to replace the images on their website. The company’s CEO, Brian Chow, referred to the situation as an unfortunate misunderstanding and emphasised their respect for the sovereignty and culture of all countries. However, Vietnamese internet users had already noticed the map on the website, leading to public scrutiny.

It is worth noting that Vietnam recently banned a Barbie movie due to its portrayal of the nine-dash map. Warner Bros., the film’s distributor, defended the depiction, stating that it was intended to be a whimsical and child-like representation rather than a political statement. This incident involving Blackpink adds to the ongoing tensions surrounding territorial disputes in the “South China Sea.”

China’s claims in the “South China Sea” were refuted by an international tribunal in The Hague in 2016, but China has refused to acknowledge the ruling. Instead, China has constructed artificial islands on previously unoccupied reefs and shoals, further fueling tensions in the region. Live performances by popular international artists like Blackpink are rare in Vietnam, making this controversy particularly significant in the context of cultural exchanges between the two countries.