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China pressures Singapore for visa-free travel agreement

SINGAPORE: China's embassy in Singapore has said that Beijing is drafting the details of a bilateral visa-free travel arrangement, aimed at boosting arrivals in the city-state.

In 2019, 3.6 million Chinese visited Singapore, more than any other country, while spending a combined $3.09 billion, and many Chinese have been keen to invest, move assets or relocate to Singapore after the severe pandemic-related restrictions imposed in China.

Some 75 percent of Singapore's 4 million citizens and permanent residents are also of Chinese ethnicity and many speak Mandarin, making it easy for visitors from mainland China.

"It is something that citizens of both countries are eagerly awaiting, and is also a shared concern for the leaders of both countries," said a spokesperson for China's embassy in Singapore, as reported by Reuters.

Chinese travelers are required to apply for visas to visit Singapore, while Singaporeans were allowed 15-day visa-free visits to China prior to the pandemic.

In a Facebook post, Chinese ambassador to Singapore Sun Haiyan said, "Hope that the competent authorities of the two sides can achieve positive results as soon as possible."