China said imports failed to meet local environmental standards amid stalled shipments and an unofficial ban on Australian coal imports
BEIJING, Nov 25 (Reuters) - China on Wednesday said imported coal had failed to meet local environmental standards, responding to reports of dozens of shipments of Australian coal that are currently stalled in 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".
(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Cate Cadell; editing by Jason Neely)