China has decided to lift the restriction on short-term visa issuance for South Koreans starting Saturday. It was a response to the South Korean government resuming the issuance of short-term visas for Chinese, which was suspended to prevent the re-spreading of COVID-19 infections.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in South Korea posted on its WeChat account on Wednesday that the embassy and the Chinese consulate general decided to resume short-term visa issuance for South Koreans starting Saturday. In addition, the National Immigration Administration of China will restore a ban on South Koreans from the program in which foreigners heading to a third country by transferring via China can stay in the country for three or six days without visas.
China suspended the issuance of short-term visas for South Koreans on January 10. It was a retaliatory measure in response to South Korea’s ban on short-term visa issuance for the Chinese on January 2 in consideration of rising COVID-19 cases in China. In addition, China also excluded South Koreans from the program, where foreigners heading to a third country by transferring via China can stay in the country for three or six days without visas. Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department of China Wang Wenbin put pressure on South Korea by asking for a quick ending to the discriminatory measure against China.
The South Korean government decided at the end of last month to extend the ban on short-term visa issuance for Chinese until the end of February. Still, it resumed the issuance for Chinese on Saturday based on the judgment that COVID-19 infections in China passed the peak and became stabilized.
While short-term visa issuance between the two countries became normalized, adding more flights, which were scheduled previously, has not taken place. The Chinese authorities have not included South Korea in the list of countries where Chinese can take group tours, which was announced on February 5. More time is needed until the two countries’ citizens can travel normally.
Ki-Yong Kim firstname.lastname@example.org