March 30, 2018 / 12:13 PM / 8 months ago

South Korea seeks China's help on tackling air pollution

Forbidden City is seen amid smog ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, China February 13, 2018. Picture taken February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea President Moon Jae-in said on Friday cooperation with China is needed not only to end tension over North Korea’s weapons but also to tackle the problem of air pollution.

Moon raised South Korea’s concern about pollution arriving from China in talks with Chinese special enjoy Yang Jiechi, in Seoul to brief South Korea on this week’s meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“President Moon Jae-in stressed the seriousness of South Korea’s fine dust problem,” said South Korea’s presidential spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom.

“Korea’s fine dust is caused by factors at home but as a Chinese factor also lies behind the problem, voices are growing among South Koreans asking for close cooperation between South Korea and China,” the spokesman cited Moon as saying.

Worsening air pollution has been a chronic problem in South Korea especially during the spring.

Authorities have suspended operations at five old, coal-fired plants from March to June to cut pollution.

Yang suggested the two sides work to cut pollution by setting up a joint environmental center, the spokesman said.

Reporting By Jane Chung and Christine Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel

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