February 01, 2023 11:18
China now requires a PCR test on arrival from all incoming visitors on direct flights from Korea, the Chinese embassy in Seoul said Tuesday.
China had scrapped PCR testing and quarantine for incoming visitors on Jan. 8 but has revived the measure for Koreans only, even though many other countries have slapped COVID restrictions on Chinese visitors.
The move comes in retaliation after Korea halted short-term visas for Chinese visitors until at least Feb. 28 and requires both negative PCR tests and another test on arrival from long-term visa holders arriving from China amid a surge of COVID infections there. In Korea, by contrast, infections have dropped.
China's Foreign Ministry voiced "regret" over Korea continuing "discriminatory" entry limitations for Chinese people.
But Korea is unwilling to budge over the COVID restrictions. Asked about the possible fallout for bilateral relations of the halt of short-term visas for Chinese travelers, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, "We will assess PCR tests of Chinese visitors and consider ending them once the situation is considered manageable."
"Looking at the PCR test results of Chinese visitors entering Korea at present, I believe we should still be cautious about completely easing visa limitations," Han added.
The China of President Xi Jinping often engages in petty reprisals of this kind, particularly where Korea is concerned, perhaps because previous Korean governments have proved more biddable.
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