Posted November. 29, 2017 08:49,
Updated November. 29, 2017 09:13
The Chinese government has partially lifted a ban on group travel to South Korea in eight months since it slapped the ban in March. But it stopped short of lifting the restriction on cooperation with Lotte Group, unwittingly admitting to the allegation that the restriction was a retaliatory move by the Chinese government in response to South Korea’s deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
The China National Tourism Administration had a meeting Tuesday with travelling agencies in Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, Henan and Shaanxi and notified them of the government’s decision to allow travelling agencies in Beijing and Shandong to offer travelling packages to South Korea. “It is expected that the first batch of group tourists will arrive in Korea next month,” said a source in Beijing.
The tourism, hotel and duty-free industries of Korea, which have saw a drop in their revenues following the Chinese government’s retaliatory travel ban in response to the deployment of THAAD, welcomed the decision immediately. “We look on the bright side and see this move as the start of resolving a row with China over the deployment of THAAD,” said an official in the hotel industry.
The Chinese government unofficially banned all group travel to South Korea on March 15, but it denied allegations that it issued a travel ban to South Korea, saying the suspension of group travel is coming from the will of its people.
On Tuesday, the Chinese government also banned its people from travelling to North Korea. The move is meaningful because a travel ban is not on the list of United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea. China has been skeptical about issuing independent sanctions against North Korea until now.