Citing “factors beyond our control” and seemingly blaming the deteriorating relationship between China and South Korea, international poker tournament series operator World Poker Tour (WPT) Enterprises Incorporated has announced the cancellation of its upcoming Jeju competition.

The WPT National Korea was scheduled to start on Friday at the Paradise Casino Jeju Grand, which is operated by Seoul-based Paradise Company Limited, and run until March 21 featuring a $1,310 buy-in main event with guarantee of at least $174,719.

“Due to factors beyond our control, the WPT today announces the cancellation of the WPT National Korea,” read a brief statement from WPT Enterprises Incorporated issued on Monday. “As you may be aware, several major airline carriers have suspended air travel in the region. In the best interest of our players, the event will no longer be taking place. The WPT regrets any inconvenience this may cause and appreciates your understanding.”

The relationship between China and South Korea was soured earlier this month after the latter began implementation of the United States-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile interception system. The move was in response to recent repeated short-range missile tests by the regime of Kim Jong-Un in neighboring North Korea, which have drawn international condemnation and led to a ratcheting up of tensions in the region.

In reply, China has suspended taking visa applications that would allow its citizens to travel to South Korea and has moreover begun curtailing the number of flights running between the two nations. China Eastern Airlines terminated services from Ningbo to the cities of Jeju and Cheongju yesterday while Spring Airlines and Okay Airways are due to suspend flights from the Zhejiang metropolis to Jeju International Airport from tomorrow.

The next major poker tournament series from the WPT Enterprises Incorporated is now set to take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, which is due to be held from March 31 to April 5 at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino and feature a $3,500 buy-in main event with $2 million in the pot for the top-placed competitors.

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