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Shares in the retail arm of South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate Lotte Group were climbing back from a steep drop on Monday prompted by reports that some of its stores in China had been closed by authorities after the company agreed to provide land to host a US missile defence system.

Shares in Lotte Shopping Co fell as much as 4 per cent on Monday but had climbed back to be down just 0.5 per cent as the afternoon session began in Seoul.

The company has been among the hardest hit by rising tensions between China and South Korea over the latter’s decision to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system from the US in response to rising belligerence from North Korea, which on Monday test-launched four missiles.

On Monday state-run South Korean news agency Yonhap reported four Lotte Mart stores in China had been shut down for breach of fire safety regulations, citing a Sunday statement from the company. That report was later verified by Reuters. Bloomberg, also citing Yonhap, has since reported that another five of the company’s China shops have been shuttered.

Shares in Lotte Shopping are down 12.5 per cent since the company agreed to trade the land needed to host the planned missile shield despite Beijing’s warnings of business consequences.

Other Seoul-listed Lotte Group companies were also suffering on Monday: shares in Lotte Chemical Co fell as much as 5 per cent on Monday, while those in Lotte confectionary fell as much as 2.8 per cent.

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