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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Vietnam Probes Blackpink Concert Organizer Over South China Sea Map Controversy

Vietnam's investigation into the Blackpink concert organizer's use of a map featuring the disputed "nine-dash line" highlights the sensitivities surrounding territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Vietnam is currently investigating iME, an event and entertainment company responsible for organizing a Blackpink’s upcoming concert in Vietnam. The controversy arose after the company displayed a map featuring the disputed “nine-dash line” on its website. This incident has triggered public debate and calls for accountability.

The Blackpink Concert and Map Display

Earlier this week, reports surfaced on social media saying iME, an event and entertainment company headquartered in Beijing, used a map on the front page of its website featuring the “nine-dash line”.China has long used the line to illustrate its expansive claims over most of the resource-rich South China Sea, often to the displeasure of Hanoi, which also claims parts of the waterway.

Response

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Pham Thu Hang, stated that the utilization and promotion of products or materials containing the controversial “nine-dash line” within Vietnam is considered a violation of the country’s laws and is deemed unacceptable. In response to the incident, Vietnam’s culture ministry has initiated an investigation.

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Apology

iME, in their apology statement, clarified that the map displayed on their website is not intended to represent the territory of any specific country. They emphasized their commitment to respecting the sovereignty and culture of all nations involved. Brian Chow, the CEO of iME, referred to the incident as an “unfortunate misunderstanding.”

Geopolitical Sensitivities

The South China Sea has been a hotbed of territorial disputes, with multiple nations asserting claims to various islands and maritime areas. Any depiction or reference to this contentious region can stir geopolitical sensitivities and escalate tensions among the countries involved.

Territorial Integrity Concerns

Vietnam, like other countries in the region, places significant importance on protecting its territorial integrity. The use of the South China Sea map during the concert raises concerns about potential implications for Vietnam’s sovereignty and its stance on territorial disputes.

Implications for the Entertainment Industry

The controversy surrounding the Blackpink concert organizer’s actions highlights the need for increased sensitivity and awareness among entertainment industry professionals. Concert organizers and artists must be mindful of geopolitical issues and the potential impact of their performances on international relations. Vietnam has also banned the upcoming Barbie moving for displaying a nine-dash line map.