China suspends short-term visas for South Korea and Japan

 Wednesday, January 11, 2023 


After announcing it would retaliate against countries that required negative COVID-19 tests from Chinese travellers, China has suspended issuing short-term visas in South Korea and Japan.

Even as China allowed travel to resume across its border with Hong Kong since Sunday, doing away with the mandatory quarantines for arrivals, the COVID-19 virus is spreading unchecked among its 1.4 billion people.

This has prompted Japan and South Korea, the US and other countries to require negative tests for travellers from China.

Retaliating to this, the Chinese embassy in South Korea suspended issuing short-term visas for South Korean visitors.

It would adjust the policy subject to the lifting of South Korea’s “discriminatory entry restrictions” against China, the embassy said on its official WeChat account.

The Chinese embassy in Japan later announced a similar move without specifying when they world resume.

Interestingly, China imposes similar testing requirements for all arrivals. But entry curbs for Chinese travellers were “discriminatory” and China would take “reciprocal measures”, the foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said on Tuesday.

Beijing’s data transparency has been a cause of concern for some governments. International experts have predicted at least 1 million deaths in China this year.

Washington has also raised concerns about potential mutations of the virus.

However, China dismisses criticism over its data as politically motivated attempts to smear its “success” in handling the pandemic.

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