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Ministry says cancellation of Samsung-chartered flights to China does not mean halt of 'fast-track' program

Incheon International Airport (Yonhap)
Incheon International Airport (Yonhap)
The foreign ministry said Friday that this week's cancellation of two Samsung-chartered flights to China does not mean a suspension of a bilateral "fast-track" program to ease COVID-19 entry restrictions for essential businesspeople.

The ministry called the cancellation an "isolated" case, amid speculation that the cancellation of the flights, initially set to depart for the Chinese cities of Xian and Tianjin on Friday, amounted to a halt of the fast-track program.

"It is not that the fast-track program has been canceled. It is about an isolated case that has not gained approval," a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"We have actively requested that the Chinese side confirm the facts and take steps necessary to give approval (for the flights) as soon as possible," the official added.

Despite the cancellation, LG Display Co. sent employees to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Thursday, in an indication that the fast-track program remains in place.

The flights in question appear to have been canceled as part of China's efforts to stop the inflow of COVID-19 cases from overseas, observers presumed. (Yonhap)