This Article is From Dec 15, 2013

China, Japan, South Korea to jointly combat air pollution

China, Japan, South Korea to jointly combat air pollution

An electronic screen and buildings are seen amid heavy smog at the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai

Beijing: China, Japan and South Korea today agreed to jointly combat air pollution, a common challenge to East Asia, to boost sustainable development for greater ecological improvement.

At the end of a two-day summit in Xianghe, a county about one hour's drive east of Beijing, representatives from the three countries said that they will to join hands to boost sustainable development.

Wang Chunzheng, vice chairman of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said that the north-eastern Asian nations of China, Japan and South Korea share common benefits as well as common responsibilities in joint air pollution control, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Wang pointed out that Japan and South Korea have advanced technologies and experience in energy saving, environmental protection and air pollution treatment. He added the three nations have great potential for cooperation in the environmental protection industry as the Chinese leadership has vowed greater efforts for ecological improvement.

Japanese Ambassador to China Masato Kitera said that environmental issues including climate change, as well as air, water and soil pollution, are shaking the foundations for human life, a situation which requires all nations to join hands in seeking solutions.

Kitera said the pollution is a common challenge to East Asia and that cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea is essential.

Cheong Young Rok, minister of economic affairs at the South Korean embassy in Beijing, said that the East Asian nations should learn from each other and build a mechanism for smog mitigation. He called on these countries to use environmental pollution as a spur to boost the green industry and create new job opportunities.

Lingering smog covering large parts of China for about the past month have caused traffic jams and school closures.

The bad air has also led to an increase in patients visiting hospitals due to respiratory problems.

Experts blame over-dependence on coal, an unreasonable industrial structure, as well as surging numbers of cars on the roads for the worsening air quality.

China's State Council, the cabinet, released an action plan for air pollution treatment in September, requiring heavily polluted regions to take measures to improve air quality by 2017.