China ready to create favorable conditions for people-to-people exchanges: FM

BEIJING: China welcomes measures to facilitate people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries, and stands ready to work with them to create favorable conditions and provide greater convenience for the smooth movement of people, China’s Foreign Ministry told a press conference.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks amid the further expanded scope of mutual visa exemptions between China and other countries.

In the latest example, China and Singapore announced on Thursday a 30-day mutual visa exemption agreement during Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong’s visit to China.

On the same day, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said that the Indonesian government will implement a visa-free policy for tourists from 20 countries and regions including China in an effort to attract more foreign visitors, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Previously, Malaysia implemented a 30-day visa-free entry policy for Chinese citizens, and Thailand has also rolled out a phased visa-free policy for Chinese tourists.

China’s overseas embassies and consulates will cut 25 percent of visa fee from December 11, 2023 to December 31, 2024 to promote cross-border personnel exchanges, the WeChat account of China Consular Affairs said on Friday.

“The visa-free policy will not only facilitate people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries, but also stimulate both sides in the fields of tourism, catering and other consumption areas,” Wang Peng, an associate researcher from the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

Noting that the measure will provide favorable conditions for China and other countries to enhance trade and economic ties, Wang said that it also reflected these countries’ confidence in China’s spending power and its prospects for economic development.

In an earlier interview, Nia Niscaya, an expert from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, told the Global Times that from January to September, Indonesia received 570,000 trips from China, nearly triple the target of 200,000.

Indonesia regards China as a strategic partner, and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made China one of Indonesia’s top three sources of investment. China is also the largest source of visitors for Indonesia’s tourist market, Niscaya noted.

Having survived the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the right time to renew cooperation with China, she said.

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