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Hyundai Motor’s China plant halts again on supply disruption

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Hyundai Motor Co. said its China plant halted operation due to a supply disruption on Tuesday, its second shutdown in China in less than a month as diplomatic tensions between China and South Korea over a U.S. missile-defense system took toll on its business.

Its factory in Cangzhou, Heibei province stopped churning out cars earlier in the day as a German supplier stopped deliveries of air intake systems when Hyundai delayed payments, Hyundai Motor’s spokesperson Cha Seon-jin said by phone.

It is one of the five China plants operated by Beijing Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai’s joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp.

The company is in talks with the supplier to resume operations as soon as possible, Cha said.

The latest shutdown is part of Hyundai’s ongoing woes in China. Its car sales were nearly halved after Beijing expressed anger to Seoul over its decision to install the U.S. anti-missile system. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as THAAD, is aimed at deterring North Korean aggressions, Seoul says, but Beijing is worried that its powerful radars would peer into its territory.

Last month, Hyundai’s entire China production stopped for a week when it couldn’t pay a supplier.