China suspends visas for travelers from South Korea, Japan

Seoul, 10 Jan (EFE).- Beijing on Tuesday stopped issuing visas to inbound visitors from South Korea and Japan in retaliation to new restrictions imposed by both countries on arrivals from China.

The Chinese embassy in Seoul announced the decision to not grant short-term visas for “Korean citizens visiting China, business, tourism, medical treatment, transit and general private affairs,” a statement read.

“The above measures will be adjusted depending on the cancellation of South Korea’s discriminatory entry restrictions on China” it added.

The move comes after South Korea rolled out new rules for Chinese arrivals after Beijing lifted all remaining pandemic restrictions on January 8.

Passengers coming from China are now required to provide a negative covid test before leaving the country and upon arrival in South Korea. Travelers who test positive for Covid-19 have to observe a seven-day quarantine.

Seoul also said it would restrict short-term visas to Chinese residents until the end of January and has not increased the number of air routes between the two nations since China reopened its borders.

During a Monday phone call with his South Korean counterpart Park Jin, China’s foreign minister Qin Gang shared his concerns over the new restrictions.

The Korean Yonhap news agency reported that Park told Qin that the new rules had been imposed on a “scientific basis.”

Around 17.5% of passengers from China who have landed in South Korea since February 2 have tested positive for Covid-19, according to South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has also announced similar measures.

Japanese travel agencies have been reporting that Chinese authorities have stopped issuing new visas for travelers with Japanese passports, according to the Kyodo news agency.EFE


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