ISO document refutes China’s claim on kimchi standard
The Global Times insisted, “This shows Chinese kimchi industry’s actual participation in international standardization work, and the claim that Korea is the ‘mainland of paocai’ is already nominal. This is ‘the humiliation of the motherland” by quoting the local media report on the rising imports of Chinese kimchi from Korea in 2018.
The Guardian reported this issue with the headline “Stealing our culture': South Koreans upset after China claims kimchi as its own” that “the very mention of the word kimchi triggered angry accusations among South Koreans that China was attempting to claim kimchi as its own, when in fact the award covered only pao cai – a type of pickled vegetable often found in Sichuan cuisine.”
In fact, at the National Standards Commission, an international standard proposal was made for ISO 24220 “Paocai (salted fermented vegetables) -- Specification and test methods” under the cooperation of the China Research Institute. As it is defined above, Paocai are salted vegetables in the Sichuan Province, China, which are close to pickles, different from traditional Korean kimchi. However, in China, the two foods are called the same word “paocai.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of Korea issued an explanatory document on the afternoon, November 29th, and explained, “China’s paocai’s international standard has nothing to do with our kimchi. Our food standards have already been set by member countries at the International Food Standards Commission (CODEX) under the United Nations (UN) International Food and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Organization” and publicly opened a document registered with the ISO stating that the food standard of ‘paocai’ does not apply to Korean kimchi.
The BBC stated on this controversy, “Although the ISO listing clearly says "this document does not apply to kimchi", some Chinese media suggested otherwise.”
Recently, China has been emphasizing the theory of Chinese origin, distorting Korean history, the Korean hanbok, music, and kimchi, to protect from the “Hallyu (Korean) wave.” There are concerns that not addressing these problems properly could eventually harm the unique cultural heritage that Korea has been struggling to protect.
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