Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeWorldChina to resume group tours to S. Korea after 6 yrs

China to resume group tours to S. Korea after 6 yrs

China’s tourism authorities said on Thursday they have decided to lift the ban on group tours to South Korea, ending a six-year hiatus caused by frayed relations following the deployment of a US defense system to the South.

Earlier in the day, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced it will allow Chinese group tours to 78 countries, including South Korea, the US and Japan, reports Yonhap News agency.

In January and March, China removed the group ban on some 60 countries in line with its eased coronavirus policy, but South Korea was excluded in a move widely viewed as an expression of Beijing’s unresolved feud against Seoul’s previous anti-coronavirus measures on entrants from China.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said it was currently in communication with China through diplomatic channels when asked about its stance on Beijing’s latest move, including the issue of streamlining tourist visas for South Korean nationals.

“South Korea and China have been in communication under the shared view that revitalizing people-to-people mutual exchanges is important,” Ahn Eun-ju, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry, told a regular press briefing.

Chinese group tours to South Korea have virtually been halted since March 2017 amid a bilateral rift over the deployment of the US defence shield, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), which Beijing sees as a security threat.

China began to gradually scrap its ban on group tours to South Korea, starting with some regions in December 2017, but they were suspended once again due to the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020

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