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China eases Covid restrictions for S.Korean students

China eases Covid restrictions for S.Korean students

China eased Covid-19 restrictions on the entry of South Korean students and workers today, sources said, in an apparent move to strengthen its ties with Seoul amid growing geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing started to receive visa applications from students, workers and those with valid residence permits, in the first such relaxation of the restrictions against foreigners that it placed in March to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Yonhap news agency reported.

China has been seen as seeking stronger ties with South Korea, a key ally of the United States, as it handles increasingly acrimonious competition with Washington on multiple fronts, including trade, technology and maritime security.

Visa applicants should submit a certificate confirming a negative result from a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 contagion five days before boarding a plane. Upon their arrival in China, they could face a 14-day quarantine depending on provincial governments' policy guidelines.

"I understand that China has also been active in the efforts to ease entry restrictions for South Koreans," a source in Beijing said on condition of anonymity. "The quarantine period in China could also be shortened depending on consultations with Chinese authorities going forward.".