China scraps travel advisory in place since Trump's Jerusalem move

Foreign Ministry lobbies for move, says one small example of why Treasury proposal to dramatically cut ministry is badly mistaken.

January 10, 2018 15:23
1 minute read.
Tourists look at a mobile phone as they stand at an observation point overlooking Jerusalem

Tourists look at a mobile phone as they stand at an observation point overlooking the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

The Chinese Foreign Ministry removed a travel advisory this week on travel to Israel that was put in place a month ago immediately after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Foreign Ministry deputy director-general for Asia and the Pacific Gilad Cohen announced Beijing’s move at a news briefing on Wednesday, in which he discussed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to India.

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Cohen said the Chinese travel warning was one of a number of travel advisories that were issued after Trump’s move, and it hurt Israeli tourism and business.

Some 122,500 Chinese tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 45% increase from the 85,500 who arrived a year before, and a whopping 530% increase from five years ago, when only 19,500 Chinese tourists visited the country.

Fearing that the Chinese travel advisory would hurt this trend, intensive Foreign Ministry efforts took place to get China to scrap the warning.

Following Trump’s move on Jerusalem, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on tourists going to Israel to “stay vigilant.”

“Considering the recent development of affairs, safety conditions in Israel, [the] Palestine areas are increasingly complicated and intense,” the travel advisory read. It alerted “all Chinese nationals and organizations to stay vigilant, keep watch and be cautious when traveling to conflicted areas in Israel and Palestine, including the Old City of Jerusalem and its neighboring areas.”

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