China suspended the issuance of short-term visas to Japanese and South Korean citizens on Jan. 10, according to Reuters.
China takes countermeasures
China had previously threatened to impose countermeasures in a briefing on Jan. 3, though they did not specify what action would be taken.
In a press conference on Jan. 10, the spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry Wang Wenbin said China had taken action:
“Regrettably, a handful of countries, in disregard of science, facts and their actual epidemic situation, have insisted on taking discriminatory entry restriction measures targeting China. China firmly rejects this and will take reciprocal measures.”
According to CGTN News, the Chinese embassy in South Korea released a notice on the same day to announce the suspension of visa issuance for South Koreans intending to visit China.
The Chinese embassy in Japan also announced that the mission and its consulate would be doing the same from Jan. 10 onwards, without giving a definite timeline of when they would resume the visa issuance, The Japan Times reported.
Japan and South Korea respond
After the announcement, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said China’s decision to suspend issuing short-term visas was “extremely regrettable”, according to Kyodo News.
He also said Japan had asked China to rescind the visa suspension.
According to a statement by the South Korean Foreign Ministry cited by AP News, the entry restrictions imposed on travellers from China had been "based on scientific and objective evidence [...] and we have communicated with the Chinese side in advance”, referring to the Chinese foreign ministry's statement.
Chinese reacts differently
Chinese online users left comments like:
“I support and believe in our country, we must be united during these times”
“I really like Uncle Wang (Wang Wenbin)”
"Amazing, in the meantime (the measures would) prevent South Korea entertainment news from trending"
"I hope this 'restricting South Koreans order' would continue to be implemented"
One user even said “Thailand is still more sensible”, referring to Thailand’s reversal of its Covid entry restrictions after announcing them.
Top images by Ling Tang & Lisanto 李奕良 via Unsplash