South Korean companies are hopeful that signs of improved diplomatic ties between Seoul and Beijing mean their long-running dispute, which is seen costing the country’s economy billions of dollars since last summer, is coming to an end, The Wall Street Journal reports. China and South Korea said Tuesday that they would work to patch up their relationship after the spat, which was sparked around August 2016 by Seoul’s decision to install a US missile-defense system that Beijing has said undermines its national security. Since then, some South Korean companies – which had grown increasingly reliant on China – have faced an economic backlash, suffering sales slumps, product boycotts, business suspensions and a sudden cutoff in Chinese tourism. South Korea’s economy is expected to take a roughly $7.6 billion hit from the spat this year alone, according to a forecast by the Seoul-based Hyundai Research Institute in May. However, shares of some South Korean companies affected by the dispute have recently risen.
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