Chinese FM blasts SK media for blaming China over sandstorm; China never blamed Mongolia for being possible source
Published: Mar 16, 2021 06:17 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday refuted South Korean media reports claiming the sandstorm that blew into South Korea originated in China, saying that China is just a country that the dust passed through and China never blamed Mongolia, which may have been the country the sandstorm came from.

At a regular press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the sandstorm that hit China on Monday came from outside China and called for objective and scientific reports from media and cooperation on environmental governance from the international community. 

China is just a country that the dust "passed through." Mongolian officials recently released relevant information on the damage caused by the sandstorm, but Chinese public opinion did not criticize Mongolia for possibly being the sandstorm upstream country, Zhao said.  

The issue should be viewed in a scientific and constructive manner. Public opinion should be guided in a right way to avoid unnecessary speculation and random labeling,  Zhao said. 

Zhao made the remarks after South Korean media said the sandstorm that hit the western region of Korea on Tuesday morning originated from China, while the dust storm that blanketed more than 10 provinces in China reportedly entered Chinese territory from Mongolia with cold air and strong winds late Sunday. 

Yonhap News Agency noted that the dust storm "originated from the inland deserts in northern China" in the reports and even highlighted the claim in the title of the Chinese version of the article. Other media reports also stressed the "baneful influence" that China has on South Korea's environment.  

The Korean media reports did not go down well on Chinese social media, which has been the major battlefield of a cultural feud between Chinese and South Korean netizens recently. 

Some people accused Korean media of falsely reporting and hyping an image of China being a "pollution-creating country". Others said such biased reports will aggravate the prejudice of Korean people against China and intensify tension between the two countries. 

The topic on Sina Weibo has received more than 320 million views and more than 16,000 comments as of press time. 

Besides South Korea, some other foreign media also claimed that the sandstorm originated from China and elaborately pointed to China's "responsibility" for the disaster. 

"The sandstorm that reached South Korea Tuesday ran a path from the southeast of Inner Mongolia to the Korean Peninsula," Wang Gengchen, a research fellow at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The reports should be based on scientific statistics, rather than bias, Wang said. 

Environmental and air pollution issues know no borders. The sandstorm showed that there is still much to be done in the region in terms of cooperation on environmental governance. China stands ready to work with its neighbors and the international community to strengthen efforts on the regional and global environmental governance and protection, said Zhao Lijian.

"China attaches great importance to the prevention and control of desertification, which has achieved remarkable results. Such results will not only benefit China itself, but also make a huge contribution to improving air quality in the region," he said. 

The western region of South Korea was hit by sandstorms on Tuesday morning, while other parts of the country are also forecast to be affected, according to reports from Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday quoting the Korean Meteorological Administration.