South Korean supermarket chain E-mart will close its stores in China due to mounting losses and souring relations between the two countries over the deployment of an anti-missile system, the Nikkei said, quoting the vice-chairman of the E-mart’s parent.

Chung Yong-jin, vice chairman of E-mart parent Shinsegae Group, said the retailer will close its six supermarkets in China once the leases expire, the Nikkei reported.

E-mart will be the first South Korean company to exit China since February, when a dispute flared over Seoul’s deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, the business daily said.

E-mart entered the Chinese market in 1997, expanding to 26 stores before shutting some of them due to growing pressure from local supermarket chains.