China Signs Visa-Free Deal With Another Asian Nation
BEIJING – China and Singapore have reached a significant agreement to implement visa-free travel for their citizens, allowing ordinary passport holders from both countries to enter without requiring a visa and stay for up to 30 days. The mutual visa exemption agreement is set to take effect on February 9, providing a boost to travel and business interactions between the two nations.
This development stems from an agreement signed on Thursday, following the initial announcement made in December of the previous year during an annual high-level meeting between the Chinese and Singaporean governments. The visa-free scheme was anticipated to begin in early 2024.
China had previously reinstated a 15-day visa-free policy for Singaporeans in July of the preceding year, marking the end of a more than three-year suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent comprehensive mutual visa exemption agreement underscores the strengthening diplomatic ties between China and Singapore.
The Chinese media has confirmed the signing of this visa-free agreement, emphasizing that China has established “comprehensive” mutual visa exemption agreements with at least 22 countries, including Singapore. This move aligns with China’s broader strategy of opening up to the world, particularly as social distancing protocols have been lifted.
In addition to the agreement with Singapore, China has recently expanded its visa-free arrangements with other countries. A visa-free agreement with Belgium has been inked, and China announced plans to allow visa-free entry for citizens from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Malaysia. These initiatives showcase China’s commitment to facilitating international travel and fostering stronger diplomatic relations.
Notably, China has also eased visa rules for US citizens, removing the requirement for Americans applying for a Chinese tourist visa to submit proof of having secured accommodation in China. Furthermore, China and Thailand have mutually agreed to allow visa-free exchanges on a permanent basis, starting from March of the current year.
As countries worldwide strive to attract tourists and facilitate global travel, China’s efforts in rebuilding its visa regime reflect a broader trend. The nation is positioning itself as a welcoming destination for tourists from various parts of the world, contributing to the revival of the tourism sector.
In conclusion, the visa-free agreement between China and Singapore represents a significant step in enhancing bilateral relations and promoting people-to-people exchanges. As China continues to engage in similar agreements with other nations, the global community is witnessing a shift toward more accessible and open international travel, fostering greater connectivity and cooperation.