China suspends visas for South Koreans over COVID curbs

Wednesday, 11 January 2023 (02:41 IST)
China on Tuesday suspended short-term visas for South Koreans traveling to the country for tourism or business.
It comes after Seoul last month imposed a range of restrictions for Chinese travelers to South Korea following a surge in COVID-19 cases. Those measures included pre-flight testing requirements and visa restrictions.
What China and South Korea say about visas
An online post by the Chineses Embassy in Seoul said Chinese embassies and consulates in Korea would "suspend the issuance of short-term visas for Korean citizens."
It added the measures would be "adjusted again in line with South Korea's removal of the discriminatory entry restrictions on China."
In a phone call, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his South Korean counterpart Park Jin he hoped that the "South Korean side will uphold an objective and scientific attitude."
News agency Yonhap reported that Jin had China's top diplomat that the restrictions were being imposed on a "scientific basis."
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo last month justified the "anti-epidemic measures to prevent the spread of the virus in our country."
The two countries clashed in August of last year over the deployment of the US missile defense system THAAD in South Korea.
Travel restrictions on Chinese travelers around the world
China has in the past threatened retaliation against countries imposing COVID-19 tests for Chinese travelers, although China requires travelers to provide the same.
The US and around a dozen other countries currently have such measures in place. Germany has advised against nonessential travel to China. 
The Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday that Beijing had also stopped issuing visas in Japan after Tokyo tightened rules for arrivals from China.
China reopened its borders for travelers for the first time in three years on Sunday after starting to lift the majority of its "zero-COVID" restrictions in December, following rare mass protests in major cities against lockdown policy. 

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