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Beijing nods partial resumption of S. Korea group tours

In a move seen as a sign of “thawing relations” between China and South Korea, Beijing has authorized the partial resumption of group tour sales to South Korea.

The ban on tour packages to South Korea began in March of this year after the country gave the nod for the installation of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, which was strongly opposed by the Chinese government.

However, an agreement reached in late October between the two countries called for the resumption of economic and cultural exchanges.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Chinese president Xi Jinping promised to put an end to the diplomatic row over the missile defense system.

According to a number of travel agency executives in China, the government has allowed travel agencies in Beijing and Shandong to resume sales of group tours to South Korea.

It has however, banned any travel packages involving affiliates of South Korea’s Lotte Group - which was involved with the installation of the U.S.-backed anti-missile system.

The China National Tourism Administration said it will allow the resumption of only over-the-counter sales of package tours from Beijing and Shandong to South Korea.

However, analysts believe that the ban will be lifted region-by-region, according to the Korea Times.

The ban on online sales of package tours, cruise trips and chartering flights is still in force.

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