China says Australian coal failed to meet environmental standards

China has found many Australian coal imports failed to meet environmental standards, a spokesman from the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, responding to a question about dozens of Australian coal shipments waiting to unload outside Chinese ports.

“In recent years Chinese customs have conducted risk monitoring assessments on the safety and quality of imported coal, and we found that many coal imports have failed to meet environmental standards,” said Zhao Lijian at a daily media briefing. China has unofficially banned Australian coal imports since October amid souring relations between Beijing and Canberra. China has in turn increased imports from Mongolia and Russia.

Zhao also said that China has strengthened the examination and testing of imported coal regarding safety, quality and environmental standards, “so as to better protect the legitimate interests and the environmental interests of the Chinese side”.