Chinese Embassy in South Korea to resume issuing short-term visas starting Feb 18
Published: Feb 15, 2023 09:17 AM
Photo: screenshot from the Chinese Embassy in South Korea

Photo: screenshot from the Chinese Embassy in South Korea

Starting from February 18, the Chinese embassy and consulates in South Korea will resume issuing short-term visas for South Korean citizens to visit China, for business, transit and general private affairs, according to the Chinese Embassy in South Korea on Wednesday.

This is regarded as a positive sign for travel and communications between the Chinese and South Korean people as a response after South Korea resumed short-term visa issuance for travelers from China on Saturday.

As South Korea has resumed the issuance of short-term visas for Chinese citizens, China's National Immigration Administration will resume the issuance of port visas and the 72/144-hour transit visa-free policy for S.Korean citizens from February 18 on, the administration also announced on Wednesday.

China downgraded its COVID-19 management measures from Class A to Class B and resumed cross-border travel and business starting from January 8. However, a few countries, including the US, insisted on discriminatory entry restrictions against travelers from China. The US on January 5 required all travelers from China to show a negative COVID-19 test result before flying to the country.

On January 2, South Korea launched discriminatory entry restrictions on travelers from China under the guise of concerns over China's COVID-19 infection wave, halting the issuance of short-term visas from its diplomatic missions in China and performing compulsive COVID-19 tests on passengers from China after they disembark.

In response, China imposed its first countermeasure on January 10 toward the discriminatory and unnecessary travel restrictions by suspending short-term visas for South Korean citizens seeking to visit China. The measure was considered to be China's direct and reasonable response to protect its own legitimate interests, particularly after some countries are continuing hyping up China's epidemic situation by putting travel restrictions for political manipulation despite that many public health experts around the globe have criticized it as a "toxic trend." 

The countermeasure would be reassessed as soon as South Korea removes its discriminatory travel restrictions targeting travelers from China, the Chinese Embassy in South Korea has said in January.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly urged individual countries including South Korea to lift their discriminatory measures against China arrivals, firmly opposed politicizing COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control.

Global Times