ROK visa applications suspended
Visa applications to the Republic of Korea made through 52 travel agencies in China’s three northeastern provinces have been suspended by theROKconsulate general in Shenyang, Liaoning province.
The suspension was announced in a notice issued by the consulate general.
Travel agencies said the decision is aimed at stopping Chinese agencies from doing business with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. However, the consulate general denied this, blaming the temporary suspension on travel agencies’ business qualifications.
The suspension will take effect on April 18, but the consulate general did not say how long the ban will last.
A travel agency in Shenyang said it had been told a week ago by the consulate general to stop business with the DPRK if it still wanted to submit visa applications for visits to the ROK.
A project manager at the agency, who wanted only to be identified as Wang, said, “We have been providing travel services to the two countries. However, we stopped our travel business to the DPRK on April 1.
“We had already been banned from submitting tourism visa applications to the ROK consulate general in Shenyang for three to six months.”
The ban does not mean that the 52 agencies can no longer organize travel groups to the ROK. Wang said visas can still be obtained from other agencies.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper in the ROK, the ROK government said it would suspend visa application services for any Chinese travel agency engaged in travel to the DPRK, in an attempt to control tourism — the north’s main source income.
The report said the policy has been or will shortly be introduced in all ROK consulates in China.
Song Fengling, a tour guide working for an international travel agency in Jilin province, said that few Chinese tourists choose to visit the DPRK.
“Chinese tourists like shopping in theROK, as it is cheap to travel there. Travel agencies in Jilin province all profit from organizing trips to the country,” she said. “On the other hand, tourism attractions in the DPRK are not that attractive and the profit margin is relatively low.”
Travel agencies in Jilin province all profit from organizing trips to the country (the ROK).”
ZhouHuiying inHarbin contributed to this story.
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People from Shaoxing University and the University of Geneva take part in a calligraphy performance in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. The event was organized by Shaoxing University.