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16 May 2017, 09:17

Belarus, China mulling over mutual 30-day visa-free travel

BEIJING, 16 May (BelTA) – Belarus and China are considering the possibility of introducing 30-day visa-free entry on a mutual basis. The matter was discussed at the talks between Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on 16 May, BelTA has learned.

The parties have noted that there is such an opportunity. The two heads of state have instructed the competent bodies of the two countries to consider the issue.

The two countries provide visa-free entry for owners of diplomatic and service passports, and also for tourist groups. Besides, China is among 80 countries which citizens can spend five days in Belarus visa-free.

As Belarus' Ambassador to China Kirill Rudy told the media, the issue of introducing 30-day visa-free entry has been raised before. “The issue has been under consideration for quite a long time and is part of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' policy. This is a logic step in the further liberation of visa regulations. It is, first of all, aimed at simplifying and improving tourist business between the two states,” the diplomat said.

According to the statistics, the Chinese are the world's most active tourists who also spend the most. Last year, the total number of Chinese tourists worldwide exceeded 120 million. Fifty million of them traveled to European countries. Every year, Belarus is visited by several thousands of Chinese citizens, half of whom spend more than 30 days in the country. In January Serbia introduced visa-free travel with China.

“The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries will be working on the corresponding document. As a rule, several months is needed to implement the instructions regarding visa regulations,” Kirill Rudy said.

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