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Visa-free regime between Russia and South Korea is more profitable for Korea today

Visa-free regime between Russia and South Korea is more profitable for Korea today

Pavel Cherkashin

Expert of the Laboratory of International Institutes and Multilateral Cooperation of the APR, School of Regional and International Studies, FEFU

Pavel Cherkashin, Expert Laboratories of International Institutes and APR Multilateral Cooperation, School of FEFU Regional and International Studies:
Since 1 January 2014, an agreement on the mutual abolition of visa requirements has been in effect between Russia and South Korea. A visa is not required for citizens of one of the two states to enter the territory of the other for up to 60 days. 

According to the representatives of the Korean side, this will significantly increase the scale of the bilateral tourist exchange and will promote the activation of the activities of small and medium-sized businesses in Russia (the large is able to solve all kinds of bureaucratic obstacles on its own) in general, and in the Far East in particular. At the same time, it can be said that this agreement is economically much more profitable to Seoul than to Moscow.

According to official statistics, in 2012, South Korea was visited by about 167 thousand Russian citizens, while in Russia it was visited by only about 100 thousand citizens of the RK. Figures are not the largest, but they clearly demonstrate the general trend.

Moreover, as far as the author is aware, the Russian direction of tourism is estimated by the Korean side as one of those with the greatest potential. In Korea, at the state level, there is a program to increase the flow of tourists from the Russian Federation (according to some estimates, up to 10 times), which provides for the development of seasonal, thematic, youth, event, cultural, ecological and other types of tourism. It is worth noting the medical tourism, estimated by Seoul as the most promising areas of work in this area. 

This is confirmed by the active and rather effective work of the representative offices of the National Tourism Organization of Korea (NOTK) functioning in Russia (Moscow and Vladivostok), where separate specialists are allocated to be responsible specifically for this issue. According to the available information, by 2015 South Korea plans to become one of the world leaders in the medical tourism industry, for which, for several years, with state support, a set of measures has been implemented to attract potential patients from the USA, China, Russia and other countries to Kazakhstan ( support for the development of the medical industry, active "PR", diagnostic programs - both remote and with visits by delegations of doctors, plans to create diagnostic centers in the field, rehabilitation courses, etc.).

However, despite the obvious interest of Seoul in concluding a visa-free agreement, representatives of South Korean business circles point to possible negative aspects that may appear after its entry into force. Here we are talking about the threat of an influx in the RK of the flow of "Russian guest workers" and the movement of criminal, criminal elements, which can negatively affect the sufficiently prosperous criminogenic situation in the country. However, it seems to the author that even if such events occur, they are most likely to be local, limited in nature, incapable of forming a significant threat.

Completely article Pavel Cherkashin "The Results of Putin's Visit to Seoul and the Prospects for the Development of Russian-South Korean Relations" was published on the portal of the Russian Council on International Affairs.

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