Japan, South Korea Defend COVID-19 Measures After China Halts Visas

By Andrew Thornebrooke
Andrew Thornebrooke
Andrew Thornebrooke
Reporter
Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
January 11, 2023Updated: January 12, 2023

Japan and South Korea are defending public health measures that place restrictions on travelers from China following politically motivated retaliation from China’s communist regime.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, ordered that it would stop granting short-term visas to Japanese and South Korean nationals on Jan. 10.

The move followed Japan and South Korea’s decision to require a negative COVID-19 test from travelers coming from China. South Korea has also stopped issuing most short-term visas at its consulates in China through the end of January. Japan hasn’t limited Chinese visas at all.

The CCP requires a negative COVID-19 test from all travelers entering China.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin called on CCP leadership to adopt COVID-19 policies that were in line with “scientific and objective facts.”

Similarly, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the regime was restricting visas “because of a reason that is not related to COVID-19 measures.”

Matsuno said Japan would demand an end to the measures and would “respond appropriately while closely watching China’s infection situation and how information disclosures are handled by the Chinese side.”

International Community Contends With CCP Coverup

China is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations after the CCP abruptly terminated its so-called zero-COVID measures following mass unrest.

The Chinese population, which has little natural immunity due to said measures, appears to be highly susceptible to the disease. However, the regime has attempted to obfuscate the true extent of the crisis.

CCP leadership reported that just 10 Chinese people died from COVID-19 in December 2022. The regime’s health authorities have been reporting five or fewer deaths per day throughout January—numbers that appear inconsistent with packed funeral homes and crematoriums in China.

Leaked images of a report presented at an internal CCP conference revealed that regime authorities believe that as many as 248 million people became infected within the first 20 days of December.

The World Health Organization has since accused the CCP of withholding data on the outbreak. U.S. President Joe Biden has suggested that the regime is “very sensitive” about its mishandling of the situation.

A report released by the UK-based health data firm Airfinity in December 2022 estimated that about 9,000 people in China are dying each day from COVID-19 and that the number will increase before the end of January.

According to South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency, about 17 percent of all short-term travelers from China from Jan. 2 to Jan. 10 tested positive for COVID-19.

Given the circumstances, numerous nations have moved to strengthen or implement testing requirements for travelers coming from China.

Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Qatar, Spain, the UK, and the United States are all implementing testing requirements on travelers from China, and the EU has sought to coordinate a response to the issue.

CCP leadership has threatened “countermeasures” against all nations that move to implement the same type of restrictions on its travelers that it requires of theirs.

It remains unclear whether the regime will expand its visa suspensions to other nations that have imposed stricter virus testing on passengers from China.

Speaking at a Jan. 3 press conference, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there was no cause for the regime’s aggressive actions.

“There’s no cause for retaliation here just because countries around the world are taking prudent health measures to protect their citizens,” Jean-Pierre said.

“That’s what you’re seeing from us and others.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.