IME Vietnam, the organizer of K-pop girl group BlackPink’s concert slated for late this month in Hanoi, on Thursday made an apology for using a map including the illicit 'nine-dash line' that China uses to illegally claim its sovereignty over most of the East Vietnam Sea.
Brian Chow, CEO of IME, said the map on the company's website does not represent any country’s territory and it is aware of the need to respect the sovereignty and culture of all the countries where IME is present.
IME has quickly reviewed and been committed to replacing images that are inappropriate for Vietnamese people, Chow added.
“IME’s mission in Vietnam is to bring Vietnamese fans the world's top shows and artists, so we hope to receive the welcome and support of the local authorities and people," he said.
“We would like to express our most heartfelt apology for this unfortunate misunderstanding.”
IME Vietnam has worked directly with and sent an explanation to the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports and relevant Vietnamese agencies over the case.
IME is an international entertainment firm established in 2006 with 11 representative offices across Asia, specifically in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
The website that features China's nine-dash line map is one for all offices in Asia and not the official website of that in Vietnam, the company explained.
The company in Vietnam does not have an official website with a domain name registered in the country.
It operates on some social networking platforms under the name of IME Vietnam, IME added.
At a press conference on the same day, spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said relevant agencies are verifying the case.
The Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports is reviewing IME Vietnam’s applications for a permit to organize the concert and banners advertising it on social media in Vietnam to see if they feature the nine-dash line.
Many Vietnamese people have voiced their anger over IME’s use of the nine-dash line map and even called on others to boycott the concert in Hanoi.
The Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports had earlier confirmed that all applications for a permit to hold BlackPink’s ‘Born Pink World Tour’ concert late this month in the Vietnamese capital were complete and valid.
On June 26, a ‘Born Pink World Tour Hanoi’ poster appeared on online platforms linked to BlackPink, saying that the next stop of the world tour would be My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on July 29 and 30.
The news roused the excitement of Blinks, the official fandom name for BlackPink, and other K-pop fans in Vietnam to a fever pitch.
Born Pink World Tour is BlackPink’s ongoing second worldwide concert tour to promote their second album ‘Born Pink.'
The tour began on October 15 last year in Seoul and is scheduled to conclude on August 26 this year.
Up to now, BlackPink has toured 21 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Spain, the UK, Germany, France, and China, where they performed lots of their hits such as How You Like That, Pretty Savage, Kill This Love, Lovesick Girls, Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, and Pink Venom.