China Signals Thaw in THAAD Dispute and Likely End to ‘Tourist Ban,’ but Why Now?

China and South Korea have reportedly agreed to restore bilateral relations to a “normal development path swiftly.” What this means for the ongoing ban on the sale of tour group packages from China to South Korea is unclear, as tour group packages for South Korean destinations are still unavailable on Chinese online travel agencies (OTAs). However, it seems very likely that Chinese tourism will resume in earnest in the coming months, which is an encouraging development for South Korea’s tourist industry that has suffered since March with the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.

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