China denies South Korea and Japan visas due to COVID limitations

South Korean visas have been suspended, according to Beijing, until "discriminatory" entrance barriers against China are removed.

Japan and South Korea no longer receive short-term visas from China in response to the Covid travel restrictions on Chinese citizens.

Despite not being the only nations imposing entry 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 criticised South Korea’s decision to suspend providing tourist visas to Chinese nationals as “unacceptable” and “unscientific” last week.

At the moment, Chinese visitors are permitted to visit Japan so long as they do not test positive for Covid. 

Japan is also restricting flights from China to specific Japanese cities.

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 have opened.

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 accordance 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.

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 variants that might be arriving from China.

Only a few business or diplomatic travellers from China are currently permitted entry into South Korea. 

Both upon arrival and prior to leaving, 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.

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