China has suspended visas for travelers from Japan and South Korea in the first retaliation for a series of Covid-19 entry restrictions introduced by governments against Chinese tourists in latest weeks.
Its embassy in Seoul said on Tuesday that it will stop giving visas to South Koreans seeking to visit China for tourism, business, medical treatment, transit and personal matters, and will only lift the ban if Seoul rows back its “discriminatory entry restrictions” against China.
The Chinese Embassy in Japan also announced the suspension of the issuance of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens to China on the same day. It stated that wait to be informed when it will resume.
South Korea had on Dec 30 said it would follow other countries such as the United States and Japan in requiring travellers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of their departure time, and to undergo testing on arrival. It also restricts short-term visits by Chinese government and stops expanding the number of flights from China.
In Japan, travel agencies have been notified that Chinese visas for Japanese travelers have also been suspended, Kyodo News said Tuesday. Although China has similar testing requirements for all entrants, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday that Beijing is “firmly opposed to the discriminatory entry restrictions imposed on China by a few countries” and will take “reciprocal measures.”
China faces travel restrictions imposed by a few countries following the removal of its zero-tariff policy and the reopening of its borders. These countries also include Sweden, Spain, France, India, Italy, and Canada.
Singapore says it will not take action against Chinese travelers because they account for less than 5 percent of all imported cases so far. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Monday that 700 to 1,000 people travel to Singapore from China every day.
Thailand ministers welcome Chinese first group of tourists with flowers after Beijing eases travel restrictions. The increase in the number of tourists entering Thailand from China and other countries is a good sign for Thailand’s tourism sector, generating income and creating jobs for the people which contributes to the country’s economic recovery, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said. Visitors would not be required to show the evidence of vaccination, but travellers from the countries that require RT-PCR testing on their returns would be required to have health insurance coverage, including COVID-19, before entering Thailand.
A total of 15 flights from China with 3,465 passengers are expected to arrive in Bangkok on Thursday. The Thai government expects about 300,000 Chinese tourists to visit Thailand in the first three months of this year.