/South Korea protests Japanese travel curbs as coronavirus ignites diplomatic row

South Korea protests Japanese travel curbs as coronavirus ignites diplomatic row

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea issued a strongly worded protest on Friday in opposition to Japan’s determination to quarantine South Korean guests for 2 weeks, as coronavirus containment measures ignited a contemporary diplomatic row between the Asian nations.

South Korean troopers in protecting gear sanitize a road at a purchasing district in Seoul, South Korea, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Japan joined the checklist of virtually 100 international locations which have imposed restrictions on South Korean vacationers, barring arrivals from extremely affected areas beginning on Saturday and ordering a two-week quarantine for these from different areas.

The South Korean overseas ministry mentioned Japan’s ambassador can be summoned to elucidate Tokyo’s determination and obtain a proper grievance. Seoul has beforehand summoned ambassadors from Vietnam and Singapore over comparable travel restrictions.

“It is extremely regrettable Japan took this unreasonable and excessive step without sufficient prior consultation with us, and we strongly urge immediate reconsideration,” it mentioned.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun mentioned Seoul would reply with countermeasures, though he gave no particulars on what actions might be taken.

The presidential Blue House mentioned the difficulty at a gathering of its National Security Council, an official mentioned.

The row got here as the variety of new circumstances in South Korea, the nation with the most important outbreak of the flu-like virus exterior China, fell to 196 from 760 the day past, for a complete of 6,284 infections. The dying toll rose by seven to 42, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) mentioned.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip mentioned fewer new circumstances had been being counted as authorities had virtually accomplished testing greater than 200,000 followers of a church within the southeastern metropolis of Daegu on the heart of South Korea’s outbreak.

“It is difficult to predict future developments because there are secondary and tertiary infections happening around the country involving them,” Kim instructed reporters.

Officials are scheduled to supply up to date numbers in a while Friday.

Japan’s chief authorities spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, defended the travel restrictions, which additionally apply to guests from China.

“The decision was the result of a comprehensive review of the information available about the situation in other countries and the effects of other measures,” he mentioned.

“I think the timing is appropriate.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has come beneath intense criticism for the federal government’s dealing with of the virus outbreak as Japan prepares to host the Tokyo Olympics in July.

The variety of South Koreans visiting Japan fell practically 26% final yr from 2018 to five.6 million, the primary drop since 2011 when Japan was hit by an earthquake and nuclear catastrophe, in response to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Japan and South Korea have had troublesome relations since Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the Korean peninsula. Last yr Tokyo slapped commerce curbs on South Korea and South Koreans responded with a boycott on Japanese items and companies.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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