China-South Korea 'fast-track' entry system necessary and beneficial

By Sun Haoran Published: 2020/5/27 4:11:31

Staff members disinfect a market in Daegu, South Korea, Feb. 23, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

A Chinese expert said that the approval of the "fast-track" entry system between China and South Korea was due to both countries having successfully contained the novel coronavirus domestically and is necessary and in line with the two countries' interests after the system had been in place for three weeks.

"Both China and South Korea's economies have been greatly affected by COVID-19, so the 'fast-track' can help facilitate the recovery of their economies and trade," Yang Danzhi, an expert on Asia-Pacific strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"China-South Korea relations have been stagnant for a long time due to the US-made THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] deployment," said Yang. "Now the two sides want to improve their bilateral relations and consolidate their bilateral economic and trade foundations through cooperation in epidemic control and prevention.

"South Korea has not politicized the coronavirus like the US, which paved the way for mutual trust and approval of the entry system," he added.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said at the third session of the 13th National People's Congress held in Beijing that China is willing to open "fast tracks" to foster personnel exchanges and "green tracks" to promote the circulation of goods with South Korea and even more countries under the circumstances of well-prepared viral prevention and control.

Wang stated that China, Japan and South Korea should continue their cooperation to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and work together to resume their business operations and ensure stable supply chains.

They should cooperate to improve regional economic cooperation by measures such as reducing tariffs and opening markets to each other, Wang said, calling for them to work to get the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed in 2020.

According to South Korean media, South Korean enterprises, including Samsung, LG, and SK, have sent more than 1,000 employees to China since the "fast-track" came into effect on May 1.

The system, which has been implemented in 10 Chinese provinces and municipalities and the whole territory of South Korea, allows employees from both sides to have shortened quarantine periods - from 14 days to only one or two days - when entering the other country after passing health monitoring and quarantine inspection, reported.

However, Yang warned that China should attach great importance and carry out strict tests for possible imported cases, especially asymptomatic COVID-19 infections.

He also noted that whether China should establish a "fast-track" entry system with a certain country is not only based on economic considerations, but also political factors.

"The US and some western countries politicized the epidemic and have damaged their mutual trust with China, so China can only approve implementing a 'fast-track' with a country that can effectively contain the virus domestically and is not swayed by political prejudice," said Yang.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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