China Halts Visas for South Koreans & Japanese Over COVID Rules

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China has suspended the issuing of short-term ordinary visas for citizens from South Korea and Japan. The move comes in response to the latter countries’ COVID restrictions on arrivals from China. 

In a statement issued on January 10, the Chinese Embassy in Seoul stated that they had decided to… 

“… suspend short-term visas for South Korean citizens to visit China for visit, business, tourism, medical services, transit or other personal affairs.” 

They added that the measures would only be dropped once South Korea “cancels its discriminatory entry requirements on travelers from China.” 

Meanwhile, on the same day, the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo confirmed that it had… 

“… suspended processing and issuing regular visas for Japanese citizens to visit China… It has not yet been announced when the services would resume.”

The suspensions also apply to the 72- and 144-hour visa-on-arrival. 

After China dropped most of its strict ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ measures, many countries around the world have implemented new COVID-19 requirements for arrivals from China. 

Arrivals from China to South Korea must undergo pre-departure and post-arrival testing. Those who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival must go to a quarantine facility. 

For Japan, arrivals from China must undergo the same testing procedures, as well as prove their vaccination status. Those who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival must go to a quarantine facility.

Chinese travelers to South Korea have said they have been made to wear a yellow sign around their necks, denoting where they have traveled from. 

South Korea has insisted its policy is not discriminatory; deputy director at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Seung-ho Choi told CNBC that up to 80% of “imported confirmed cases” in South Korea are coming from China. 

While many countries have tightened measures for travelers from China, Thailand has done the opposite in a bid to welcome back Chinese tourists. 

READ MORE: Thailand Clarifies COVID Travel Rule for China Visitors

Those traveling to the Chinese mainland from elsewhere are still required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result issued 48 hours within departure.  

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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