China has agreed to issue visas to South Korean students and employees starting next month, Seoul’s top diplomat to Beijing said Monday.
South Korean Ambassador to China Jang Ha-sung, speaking to reporters in Beijing, said that the Chinese government has agreed to issue visas for three groups of Koreans: students, long-term employees and those with valid residence certificates.
The exact date of resumption of visa issuances has not been announced, but it is expected to be in early August.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, China banned the entry of foreigners starting March 28, including people holding valid visas and residence permits.
“The new semester in China begins in September, and a path for students to re-enter the country is opening,” Jang told reporters. “This will also alleviate at least a little bit of the difficulties incurred by Koreans earning their livelihoods in China.”
South Korea would be the first country that China is resuming some visa issuances to and can serve as an example as Beijing opens up to more countries.
Some 50,000 Korean students studying in China have mostly come home to Korea during the coronavirus pandemic. Around one-third of Korean residents in China have not been able to return to the country.
A resumption of visa services is expected to lead to increased flights between the two countries.
The South Korean embassy and consulates in China are expected to hold further discussions on the matter Tuesday.
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