China on Tuesday said it may permit stranded students from the ASEAN countries studying in Chinese universities to come back early but continued to be vague about the return of over 23,000 Indian students stuck at home since last year due to Beijing's visa curbs related to COVID-19.
Asked about the joint statement issued on Monday after the summit of China-ASEAN countries mentioning of the early return of the students from those countries whether Beijing will also permit students from India and South Asian countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told during a media briefing here that China will consider in a coordinated manner arrangement for allowing foreign students to return.
ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
On the basis of ensuring safety amid COVID-19, we will consider in a coordinated manner an arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies, he reiterated.
At the same time, I stress again that in light of the evolving epidemic situation, China will decide on prevention and control measures in a coordinated way based on scientific analysis, he said.
Since last year China has stopped issuing visas for Indians and currently, there were no flights in operation between the two countries due to which over 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine in Chinese colleges as well as hundreds of Indian businessmen and their families were stranded back home.
Similarly, students from the South Asian countries studying in China too were stuck in their respective countries waiting for Beijing to relax its travel curbs to return to join their studies.
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