China tightens tourist visa rules for S. Koreans amid THAAD row

2016-08-12 21:15

China tightened its rules on tourist visa issuance for South Koreans, the foreign ministry here said Friday, the second revision to its regulations in less than two weeks that comes amid a diplomatic row over Seoul's decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense shield on its soil.

China notified its four visa centers in South Korea earlier in the day of a new rule requiring group tourist visa seekers to present original passports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief note to the press.

The latest measure follows a revision of China's immigration control law, the ministry said, quoting the Chinese Embassy in Seoul.

The move marks the second time that Beijing has tightened visa rules for South Koreans wanting to enter the country.

Earlier in the month, China shut down a Chinese visa agency working for South Korean businessmen seeking long-term multi-entry visas.

The unusual development between the two economic partners came as tensions escalated over South Korea's plan to deploy the U.S.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) here to better cope with North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

Last month, South Korea announced a THAAD battery will be set up in the county of Seongju by the end of 2017.

China, however, vehemently opposes the deployment which it says will severely impair Beijing's security interests in the region.

A group of entertainment events featuring South Korean TV stars were also canceled in China without specific explanations this month, as the countries exchanged barbs over the deployment plan. (Yonhap)