South Korea’s top travel agency has said it’s “very proud” of its work in securing the visas of more than 100 travellers to attend the Republic of Korea’s annual G-20 summit in China.
South Korean travel firm Lee Jung Woo said it secured more than 200 visas for its staff to attend Thursday’s summit in Hangzhou, China.
But the firm, which has over 200 employees, said it was “deeply disappointed” at the result, saying that many visa applications had been rejected because they were too late.
“Our firm is deeply disappointed with the decision,” Lee said in a statement.
Lee said it would take a year to complete the process of securing visas for all 100 applicants, but said it had already secured a number of additional visas for employees. “
We are working hard to find more than 120,000 visas and that will be possible only with the cooperation of the relevant agencies and governments.”
Lee said it would take a year to complete the process of securing visas for all 100 applicants, but said it had already secured a number of additional visas for employees.
In a statement, Lee’s managing director Lee Sung-min said the firm’s visa processing agency had been working “extraordinary hours” to ensure that visas for more than 60 employees were ready for arrival by the end of the week.
Lee said Lee had been in contact with other agencies and would be “very happy” if more applicants could be accommodated for the summit.
“As we have said many times, we will be extremely disappointed if there are any delays, and we are working to secure additional visas,” Lee told reporters.
“If we don’t have sufficient numbers, we are looking into options to accommodate more.”
Lee also said he hoped the firm would be able to find accommodation for more workers in Hangsar.
Lee added that the firm had secured the visa of three additional staff members.
“The visa of the second member was for two people, but we have a third person who is currently at home,” he said.
“I hope to find a third member for another month.”
On Friday, South Korea held a meeting with the United States to discuss the visas and other visa issues that have been plaguing the country in recent weeks.
In September, the country’s top court upheld the suspension of the visa waiver programme after it was announced that the government was planning to scrap a law that required foreigners who wanted to enter South Korea to apply for visas.
The ruling also meant that foreigners seeking to stay in South Korea for more work must get permission from the state government.
Lee, however, said the decision to withdraw the visa program was not a decision that affected business.
“It was only a decision made by the government,” he told reporters in Hangjing, capital of the eastern province of Gyeonggi.
“For businesses, it was not that big of a deal.
The problem is that there were so many visa applicants waiting for visas.”‘
No choice’ on visas Lee said that he hoped South Korea would be given a more positive outcome at the summit, which is expected to feature leaders from Japan, China, India, the United Kingdom and South Korea.
“There is no choice but to go to China, because we are hoping to meet the leaders of the three countries,” Lee added.
“But if we can’t, we have to go there.”
He said the company would continue to work on securing the remaining visas for staff.
“At least we can say we’re very proud of the work we did,” he added.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP) (Reporting by Kim Young-suk; Editing by Ralph Boulton)