(20 Dec 2017) China said on Wednesday it holds a positive and open attitude concerning cooperation with South Korea in all areas, in response to reports saying its authorities have banned a group of Chinese nationals from visiting the country later this week.
Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported that the Chinese tourist group was supposed to leave for South Korea on Friday in a trip arranged by a Chinese tour agency, but the request was resisted by the Chinese authorities.
Speaking at a regular briefing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she had not heard about this case, but said following a recent visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to China, Beijing hoped “the South Korean side will join hands with us to create favourable conditions for bilateral exchanges and to push ahead with the sound and smooth development of relations.”
In March the Chinese government banned tour agencies from sending groups to South Korea, as part of the retaliation on the country’s decision to deploy the US missile defence system THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defence) on its soil.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry stated the group tours have been “partially resumed” since late last month, but it did not issue an outright denial of the reports about the alleged resumption of the ban.
Hua also commented on a report that Moon was seeking the postponement of his country’s annual joint military drills with the US, scheduled for next February or March as they would coincide with the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Hua said all parties should abide by the UN resolution on the suspension of war during the Olympics.
“We hope all the parties will follow through the resolution, exercise restraint and express goodwill,” Hua said.
Hua also said China was “seriously concerned” about a report stating the South Korean coast guard shot at Chinese boats which were illegally fishing in South Korean waters.
According to Yonhap, the coast guard fired around 200 gunshots to chase off more than 40 Chinese illegal fishing boats off the the west coast of South Korea on Tuesday.
“We hope South Korea will handle the issue properly without taking excessive means that harm the safety of the people when performing law-enforcing duties,” Hua said.
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