When BTS received an award last week recognizing the ties between the US and South Korea, its leader acknowledged the nations' joint sacrifices 70 years ago during the Korean War. "We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women," RM said. But the South Korean K-pop group has millions of fans in China. While some of them took to social media to defend the group, saying RM didn't specifically mention China, many others didn't appreciate the comments, the BBC reports. China supported North Korea during 1950-53 war. A state newspaper wrote that RM's statement was aimed at American fans and that "Chinese netizens said the band's totally one-sided attitude to the Korean War hurts their feelings and negates history." Still others thought the pain of Chinese soldiers also should be honored.
"If you want to make money from Chinese fans you have to consider Chinese feelings," said a post on Weibo, per Reuters. Samsung and Fila quickly pulled marketing material that mentioned BTS. "We can't force them to have the same political views as us," a 21-year-old fan in Guangzhou said, "but since you get our money and support over here, then you should take note of that and respect every country." China says 180,000 of its soldiers were killed fighting for North Korea. South Korea's losses were roughly 200,000, per the New York Times, and 37,000 Americans were killed. Saying he'd been following BTS' comments and the online reaction, a Chinese foreign ministry official sounded conciliatory in addressing reporters. "We should learn from history and look toward the future by cherishing peace and advancing our friendship," he said. (The possibility of BTS members having to serve in the military didn't deter investors.)