Feb. 20 (UPI) — The Chinese government filed a complaint with Seoul after several Chinese nationals were allegedly denied entry to the South Korean resort island of Jeju, where they are usually allowed to travel without visas.
Jeju’s immigration office said all entrants are being vetted according to regulations, and if “issues” are identified entry can be denied, South Korean news agency Yonhap reporte
According to Chinese state tabloid Global Times on Monday, the Chinese consulate in Jeju had filed a complaint with the South Korean government after several Chinese citizens were not allowed to visit the country during the Lunar New Year holidays.
The Chinese consulate claimed Chinese passport holders are being increasingly denied entry to the island, which is easier to visit for Chinese than the peninsula.
All other South Korea entry points require a visa for Chinese nationals and proof of sufficient funds to return home.
Chinese media reports have claimed more than 100 Chinese were denied entry last October.
The complaint from China follows recent developments in Jeju that indicate Koreans are wary of the large influx of tourists.
While most visitors have been welcomed because their spending boosts the local economy, social media images of a garbage-strewn Jeju airport have drawn criticism from South Koreans who want airport authorities to do more to curb tourist pollution.
Korea was also rocked by the slaying of a 61-year-old Korean woman in Jeju last September.
The killer, a 51-year-old Chinese man, was recently charged and sentenced to 25 years in a Korean prison.
The defendant, Chen Guorui, said he committed the crime because he did not want to go back to China.
Chinese state media on Monday did not allude to these incidents in their coverage.