China suspends short-term visas for South Korea, Japan travellers in first response to 'discriminatory' Covid-19 curbs

The embassy says that it will adjust the policy subject to the lifting of Seoul's entry restrictions

By Reuters

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A South Korean soldier wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) guides a group of Chinese tourists for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests upon their arrival at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, January 4, 2023. Photo: Reuters
A South Korean soldier wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) guides a group of Chinese tourists for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests upon their arrival at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, January 4, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Published: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 10:19 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 7:06 PM

The Chinese embassy in South Korea has suspended issuing short-term visas for South Korean visitors, it said on Tuesday, the first retaliatory move against nations imposing Covid-19 curbs on travellers from China.

The embassy will adjust the policy subject to the lifting of South Korea's "discriminatory entry restrictions" against China, it said on its official WeChat account.


A Chinese embassy official confirmed the new measures.

The announcement comes a day after Foreign Minister Qin Gang expressed concern about the restrictions in a telephone call with his South Korean counterpart Park Jin, according to China's foreign ministry.


South Korea's Park told Qin the new border restrictions were "science-based" measures, according to his office.

Last week, South Korean police tracked down a Chinese man who went missing while awaiting quarantine after having tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival. The incident raised concern about the spread of the virus from China.

South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Monday the country's border measures should focus strictly on the safety of its citizens.

Although Beijing also demands negative Covid test results from anyone landing in China, officials last week threatened retaliation against countries mandating tests for people coming from China.

China will also "suspend the issuance" of visas to Japanese citizens from Tuesday, its embassy in Tokyo said, in an apparent response to Japan's restrictions on Chinese travellers over a surge in Covid cases.

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