South Korea’s highest observation deck to open next week

South Korea’s highest observation deck built by Lotte Group will open to the public next week and help generate fresh momentum for the retail giant that is facing a huge risk of losing Chinese customers in the wake of a trade row with Beijing.

The Seoul Sky, located from the 117th to the 123th floor of the country’s tallest skyscraper Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul, will start to receive visitors from March 22, its operator Lotte World said Tuesday.

The deck is some 500 meters above the ground, and designed to accommodate 900 people at once who will take a double-deck elevator named the Sky Shuttle, the company said. The elevator will take visitors to the top in one minute.

The opening of the observation deck came amid mounting concerns over Lotte’s businesses. Lotte is experiencing problems after China seemingly engaged in attacking the group for agreeing to a land swap with the military. The agreement has opened the way for an advanced U.S. missile defense system, known as THAAD, to be deployed in South Korea.

Early this month, Beijing told its travel agencies to stop selling tour packages to South Korea, while ordering a temporary shutdown of half of Lotte’s hypermarkets operating in China.

Lotte said it has set the target for the number of expected visitors at 2.3 million for this year. It said the observation deck will be a place that “represents the pride and beauty of Korea.”

The sky deck on the 118th floor and the super-fast elevator have both been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, it added. The deck is the highest placed glass-floor observation platform in the world with the elevator getting recognition for being the fastest.

The floor is made with tempered glass strong enough to withstand one ton per square meter, equivalent to about 222 people weighing 75 kilograms each, according to the company. (Yonhap)

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