South Korea, Japan protest China’s suspension of visas amid COVID dispute

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south korea japan protest chinas suspension of visas amid covid dispute

On Wednesday, a day after China stopped issuing new visas in both nations in what appears to be retaliation, Japan and South Korea justified public health restrictions on visitors from China.

On Tuesday, Chinese embassies halted providing new visas to Japanese and South Korean citizens.

It was unclear whether China will extend the visa suspensions to other nations that have higher virus screening requirements for travellers from China as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The decision by China to cease providing short-term visas to South Koreans is “extremely disappointing,” according to South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, who also called on China to base its pandemic response on “scientific and objective facts.”

Around 17% of the 2,550 brief visitors from China between January 2 and Tuesday, according to South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency, tested positive.

In addition to requiring all travellers from China, Hong Kong, and Macau to submit proofs of negative tests taken within 48 hours of their arrival in addition to COVID-19 tests at the airport, South Korea has stopped issuing the majority of short-term visas at its consulates in China through the end of January.

Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief cabinet secretary of Japan, criticised China for restricting the issuing of visas to Japanese citizens “one-sidedly” and “for a reason that is not related to COVID-19 measures.”

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Japan will “react appropriately while closely examining China’s infection situation and how information releases are handled by the Chinese side,” Matsuno said of Tokyo’s objection and demand that China drop the measures.

As a result of China’s quick infection spread and lack of information about the issue, according to Matsuno, Japan had to take temporary measures to prevent a rapid influx of infections into the country.

He claimed that Japanese border controls have been designed solely to avoid infections and to have little impact on foreign travel. “China’s unilateral restriction of visa issuing is deeply disappointing.” Brief web announcements published by the Chinese embassies in Seoul and Tokyo announcing the suspensions were not accompanied by any explanations or information regarding the resumption of visa issues.

The Foreign Ministry of China vowed last week to take action against nations that had imposed new virus screening requirements on visitors from China. At least ten governments in Asia, Europe, and North America have lately done this.

In an effort to boost incoming tourism, Thailand dispatched three ministers to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to greet the nation’s first planeload of Chinese visitors in years.

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