SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- Teenage South Korean students are expected to enjoy visa-free travel to China for short-term school trips beginning early next year, an official at Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday.
Seoul and Beijing have been in talks to grant visa-waiver status to South Korean elementary, middle and high school students who plan to visit China for school trips. The two sides aim to finalize the talks by the end of this year, the official said.
"We are in final consultations with the Chinese side on the visa waiver program for school trips," the official said on the condition of anonymity.
It will take about two months for the visa waiver program to go into effect because it needs to get through domestic administrative procedures, the official said.
South Korea and China have reviewed a visa waiver program to promote tourism between the two nations.
Seoul granted visa-free travel to South Korea for teenage Chinese students on school trips in April 2007.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea has jumped to 1.72 million last year, according to the ministry data. The figure is expected to surpass 2 million this year.