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Police on full alert as China meets S. Korea on pitch amid tension

(Global Times)    08:32, March 23, 2017
Police on full alert as China meets S. Korea on pitch amid tension
File photo

South Korean players were concerned about security as they prepared for a 2018 World Cup qualifier game against China in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province, amid tensions between the two countries over the deployment of a missile system in South Korea.

Two police vehicles are stationed at the Shuntian Kempinski Hotel in Changsha, where the South Korean national team has been staying since Monday.

At China's previous home World Cup qualifiers, security vehicles were often on patrol for the visiting team rather than being stationed.

A hotel manager said the South Korean side has requested a two-story clearance of the hotel, with the 24-man squad and backroom staff staying at more than 20 rooms.

"We haven't encountered any incidents, and fans have not made a scene," the manager, who refused to be named, said.

He declined to offer more details, citing hotel guest privacy.

The South Korean players arrived in Changsha separately, as some of them are based overseas.

China is set to host South Korea at He Long Stadium on Thursday in Changsha. China enjoys an 8-game winning streak at the stadium since 2005.

The South Korean embassy had issued a warning to its nationals in China to be cautious ahead of the AFC third-round Group A encounter in Changsha.

"South Koreans living in or visiting China must ensure they cheer on the national team in as orderly a fashion as possible," the embassy's message read.

Local sports officials have called the fans to show "rational patriotism" during the game against South Korea.

The game comes amid tensions between the two countries over the deployment of the THAAD US anti-missile defense system. China says THAAD could spy on Chinese missile tests.

The Korean Football Association had sent a request to the Asian football governing body AFC about the security situation in China.

Lee Jung-soo, a journalist with Sports Seoul, said Korean media has exaggerated the so-called anti-Korean sentiment in China.

"There are many reports saying China is protesting against South Korea, which made me worried before I came here," he told the Global Times. "But after two days in Changsha, nothing worries me. The tensions are exaggerated."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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