In response to Covid restrictions on Chinese travelers, China has ceased providing short-term visas to citizens of South Korea and Japan.
South Korean visas have been suspended, according to Beijing, until “discriminatory” entrance barriers against China are removed.
Despite not being the only nations putting entrance conditions on visitors from China, where Covid instances are on the rise, Japan and South Korea’s regulations are among the strictest.
China’s foreign ministry criticized South Korea’s decision to suspend providing tourist visas to Chinese nationals as “unacceptable” and “unscientific” last week.
China is now permitted to visit Japan so long as they do not test positive for Covid. Japan is restricting flights from China to specific Japanese cities, which is comparable to the UK and the US.
The new visa requirements for tourists entering China were verified by Beijing’s embassies in Seoul and Tokyo.
The “zero-Covid” policy was abandoned by China on Sunday, marking the first time since March 2020 that its borders had been open.
South Korea’s foreign ministry responded to China’s most recent visa restrictions by telling the BBC that their approach to people arriving from China was “in conformity with scientific and objective evidence.”
Prior to the implementation of visa restrictions, a third of all arrivals from China tested positive for Covid, according to South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
Arrivals are greeted by military soldiers dressed in protective gear at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, the only South Korean airport that still permits flights from China.
As they were being led to the airport testing facility, the BBC was able to talk with a few of them.
“Personally, I believe it’s OK. I have been through much worse throughout this pandemic,” claimed William, a businessman from Shanghai. “As a traveler, I simply attempt to abide by the rules as much as I can.”
Another traveler, though, was of a different opinion.
Emily, who had just arrived from Hong Kong, declared, “In my opinion, it’s not at all scientific.” She, like those coming from mainland China, was forced to test.
“I think this side is a little bit treated unfairly. I can only imagine how unsafe they must feel.
Although many South Koreans believe that the decision to defend their nation from China’s coronavirus outbreak is solely medical, not all of them do.
There is a political component to it, and the two nations’ relationship isn’t good. Jinsun, who was traveling to Abu Dhabi, stated that many Koreans harbor strong resentment toward Chinese people and blame them for the coronavirus.
Another traveler to Paris on her honeymoon stated South Korea might not have enacted such regulations if the nation in question wasn’t China.
However, she added, “China would have an issue with whatever we did.
The South Korean limitations are expected to remain in place at least until the end of the month, giving researchers time to examine any potential new varieties that might be arriving from China.
The monitoring of new varieties is not currently transparent in China. According to Professor Kim Woo Joo, an infectious diseases specialist at Korea University and government consultant, “if a new variation arises from China, it would be a very dangerous situation for the entire world.”k
“The Korean healthcare system would suffer as well. Our older population is already under-vaccinated, and we already have a high number of hospitalizations and fatalities. This is the issue that worries us.
Only a few business or diplomatic travelers from China are currently permitted entry into South Korea. Both upon arrival and prior to leave, they must test negative.
One Chinese man who had a positive test ran away from the bus that was carrying him to a hotel for quarantines close to the airport. He was apprehended by cops in a Seoul hotel two days later.