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China, Japan, ROK urge joint smog treatment

Updated: 2013-12-15 15:00
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Government officials and environmental experts from China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have urged greater cooperation in combating air pollution.

At a summit held on Saturday and Sunday in Xianghe, a county about one hour's drive east of Beijing, attendees from the three countries expressed the will to join hands in boosting sustainable development.

Wang Chunzheng, vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that the northeastern Asian nations of China, Japan and the ROK share common benefits as well as common responsibilities in joint air pollution control.

Wang pointed out that Japan and the ROK boast 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 the ROK is essential.

Cheong Young Rok, minister of economic affairs at the ROK 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.