March 03, 2021 11:03
China has stirred up international controversy again by requiring all foreign arrivals to submit to anal swabs to screen for coronavirus.
But the Korean Foreign Ministry on Tuesday claimed Koreans will not be subject to the intrusive exams.
Asked if the government has protested, Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam said, "We initiated negotiations early on in the most active manner. Since early this year, we made sure the indirect method of submitting stool samples could be used instead of Chinese quarantine authorities taking the swabs directly."
Chinese health officials are conducting anal swabs of visitors and suspected carriers in Beijing, Qingdao and other parts of the country. The premise is that the virus lasts longer in samples collected from the digestive system or excrement than in the respiratory tract.
Earlier, the Japanese government officially requested the Chinese government to exempt its citizens. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters on Monday, "We have received complaints at the Japanese Embassy in China that some of our citizens were subject to anal swabs on arrival in China and that they suffered psychological pain. We asked that Japanese citizens be exempt."
Late last month, there were claims that U.S. diplomats in China had been subjected to anal swabs. China denied the claims, but the U.S. State Department said it lodged a complaint and Beijing admitted it conducted the tests "by mistake."
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