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NASA says dust storm that reached South Korea came from China

NASA says dust storm that reached South Korea came from China
The dust storm that covered Beijing (pictured) and northern China traveled to the Korean Peninsula, according to scientific data. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 18 (UPI) -- Beijing has denied dust storms behind seasonal pollution in South Korea originate from China, but satellite data from the U.S. space agency seems to prove otherwise.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had said Tuesday the latest dust storms that covered northern China originated from a neighboring country, despite past evidence of the storms originating from China's Gobi Desert.

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"The dust storm originated from outside China and China is only one stop on its route," Zhao had said. "I noted the information released recently by the Mongolian government on the hazardous dust storm."

Zhao also urged "all sides," including South Korea, to "look at the matter in a science-based and constructive manner," while "guiding public opinion toward the positive direction."

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Zhao's denial of the dust storm's Chinese origins came after NASA published an analysis of the dust storm that hit Beijing over the weekend.

"The plume appears to originate from the Taklamakan Desert in northwest China," NASA stated Monday.

"The dry, barren area is a major source of airborne dust that can travel especially high and far on the strong winds of spring.

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"From the Taklamakan, the dust moved eastward for thousands of kilometers."

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NASA also published a map showing the storm's route, with map arrows pointing toward the peninsula.

Data from GEO-KOMPSAT 2A, a South Korean geostationary meteorological satellite, also show the recent storm starting on the Chinese side of the Gobi Desert and China's Inner Mongolia on Monday, South Korean news network MBN reported Thursday.

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Data show the dust from the area traveled to the Korean Peninsula, where seasonal dust is adding to South Korea's pollution woes.

South Korea's National Institute of Meteorological Sciences said the seasonal dust, also referred to as "yellow dust," mainly originated from northern China.

The government-funded institute said 80% of seasonal dust in South Korea travels from the Gobi Desert, the Inner Mongolia Plateau, while 20% comes from northeast China, according to MBN.

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