China Denies Being Source of Air Pollution in Korea

  • By Lee Kil-seong, Kim Hyo-in

    December 31, 2018 11:14

    The Chinese government has rejected allegations by Korea that it is the source of massive amounts of fine dust that regularly sweep into the Korean Peninsula.

    A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment gave three specific reasons to reporters rejecting Korea's claims that the toxic haze is blowing in from China.

    "According to weather data, China's air quality has improved drastically over the last few years, while the level of fine-dust (PM 2.5) in Seoul has either remained the same or worsened slightly," the spokesperson claimed according to Chinese media. 

    "In terms of the contents of fine dust, the level of nitrogen dioxide, which worsens the level of fine dust, has been higher in Seoul than in Beijing, Yantai or Dalian in China." 

    "Serious levels of smog were detected in Seoul from Nov. 6-7, but Chinese experts have concluded that there was no movement of high amounts of fine dust during that period." The spokesperson added, "The main contents of smog found in Seoul were generated locally and reports have cited local experts arriving at similar conclusions."

    But a source at the Korean Embassy in China said the ministry was highly selective with the data, and only cited those that support Beijing's claims.

    "There are more universal research data showing that fine dust coming from China is impacting Korea. Chinese authorities have insisted that more research needs to be done to verify allegations by Korea that the fine dust is coming from China, but China has grown emboldened by the improved air quality in its major cities and is taking a more aggressive stance."

    An official at the Environment Ministry here said, "China needs to continue negotiating with us over the fine-dust problem, and it is rather surprising that a Chinese government official who should be careful of diplomatic relations made such claims."

    The official added, "I think the comments were taken out of context against the wishes of the Chinese government. It is true that the level and causes of fine dust in Chinese cities have generally declined recently, but China is fully aware of the impact it still has on Korea." 

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