China Excludes South Korea from Group Tourist Countries Despite Lifting Travel Restrictions
Starting today (March 11), China has lifted all entry restrictions for people coming into the country.
However, China has greatly expanded the list of countries where Chinese citizens can engage in group tourism, but South Korea was excluded once again, suggesting political motives.
According to reports, Chinese tourists are eager to travel abroad after being banned for three years due to COVID-19.
China recently allowed Chinese citizens to engage in group tourism to 20 countries last month, and will further expand the list to 40 additional countries starting from March 15.
However, South Korea was not included, despite being one of China’s closest neighbors.
China has previously used the ban on group tourism as a reason for its entry restrictions on Chinese citizens.
South Korea has lifted all entry restrictions, including PCR testing, for incoming travelers.
This has led to speculation that China’s exclusion of South Korea from the group tourism list is related to South Korea’s strengthened diplomacy and security cooperation with the United States and Japan, which China has expressed dissatisfaction with.
In addition to South Korea, the United States and Japan were also excluded from China’s list of countries where Chinese citizens can engage in group tourism.
Recently, when the South Korean government expressed its intention to participate in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) led by the United States, China reacted by putting pressure on South Korea.
It appears that China is using its citizens’ overseas travel as a diplomatic tool, which is causing concern among South Korean officials.