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12.07.2013 General News

Looming diplomatic feud between Ghana and China as both countries tighten visa controls

By Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiah
Looming diplomatic feud between Ghana and China as both countries tighten visa controls
JUL 12, 2013 GENERAL NEWS

It appears a diplomatic feud is brewing as Ghana and China trade a tightening of entry requirements into both countries.

No official explanation from the Chinese Embassy has been communicated but it appears to be linked to a month-long crackdown of Ghanaian authorities on Chinese illegal miners.

In May this year, a 9-member delegation from China's Guangxi province where majority of the illegal miners are believed to have hailed begged government not to arrest their compatriots engaging in small scale mining.

This request was turned down after a meeting with Inusah Fussieni, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and Chair of an Inter-ministerial task force on illegal mining. The taskforce has deported over 3,800 foreign nationals engaged in illegal mining.

This may have informed Ghana's major investment partner to issue new water-tight Chinese visa requirements this week.

Government officials including ministers will now require Cabinet approval to travel to China.

Ghana has also responded swiftly by tightening visa requirements for Chinese nationals seeking to visit Ghana.

Alfred Sam, Deputy Head of Ghana's Mission in China said they have recently written to Chinese immigration authorities not to allow their nationals to board flights to Ghana without genuine documents. In cases of visas-upon-arrival, a Chinese national would need to get approval from their Embassy before they can be granted visas.

He declined to link this to the crackdown on illegal miners.

He explained that a new Chinese government ushered into office in November 2012 has been implementing strict measures on corruption, social, economic issues and immigration.

However, international relations expert Dr. Yaw Gebbeh, speaking on Top Story, suspected that the crackdown on illegal mining underpins the new entry requirements to China.

Nonetheless, developments are not healthy for diplomatic relations. He stressed that China provides soft loans, grants and economic assistance to Ghana. Several Ghanaian students are also studying in China, he observed.

He said Ghana ought to impress on their Chinese counterparts to respect entry requirements to Ghana. He said it was unfortunate that Ghanaian businessmen and women who met entry requirements should be denied visas.

He called on the Ghanaian government to step in to avoid any deterioration in diplomatic relations.


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