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Five Chinese cities and provinces to allow 'fast-track' entry for S. Korean businesspeople

All News 17:44 April 29, 2020

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- Five Chinese cities and provinces will start allowing expedited entry for South Korean businesspeople from next month, in exception to entry restrictions enacted due to the coronavirus outbreak, Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

South Korea and China have been seeking to establish a "fast-track" entry system to enable swift visits by business travelers so as to help them minimize the fallout from entry curbs imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was finalized during a working-level meeting between the two sides held earlier in the day, led by Kang Sang-wook, director-general for Northeast Asian affairs at the foreign ministry and his Chinese counterpart, Wu Jianghao.

Under the agreement, the faster entry system is applied to 10 Chinese cities and provinces in principle, but half of those places, including Shanghai, Liaoning, Shandong, Jiangsu and Anhui, will be able to bring the system into force for now since regular flights only operate there, the ministry said.

The simplified entry system will enable South Korean businesspeople to apply for a visa upon presenting an invitation from a company based in China.

Before departure, they need to self-check their health for two weeks and have state-certified documents ready proving they have been cleared for the virus. Once they arrive in China, they will be required to self-isolate for one or two days at a facility designated by the provincial government and will be tested for the virus again.

Beijing currently bans the entry of foreigners, except for cases involving diplomats or others with essential reasons. The limited entries require at least 14 days of isolation at designated facilities.

In Wednesday's talks, the two sides agreed to continue discussions on ways to revitalize bilateral exchanges once the virus outbreak stabilizes, including restoring flight operations to facilitate travel.

They also shared assessments on the virus outbreak situations in their countries and agreed to continue cooperation in quarantine and health sectors to cope with the disease, according to the ministry.

elly@yna.co.kr
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