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(4th LD) Koreas agree to cooperate to protect forestry against blight, insects

All Headlines 23:18 July 04, 2018

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SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- The two Koreas agreed Wednesday to cooperate on protecting their forests along the inter-Korean border and other areas from damage caused by blight and harmful insects.

They also agreed to conduct on-site inspections of those areas together in mid-July while at the same time exchanging the technology and know-how needed to grow and protect their forests.

The agreements were reached after marathon inter-Korean working-level talks held on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss cooperation in the forestry sector.

South Korea's delegation was led by Ryu Kwang-soo, vice minister of the Korea Forest Service. His counterpart was Kim Song-jun, a senior official at the North's ministry of environmental protection.

The two also promised to discuss how to modernize sapling cultivation, prevent forest fires and exchange methods to protect and grow forest. They added that they will continue to consult with each other to address any problems that could arise in implementing those agreements.

The North is known to be in need of support in dealing with deforestation problems caused by excessive logging and cooperation in other relevant areas.

Information on the current condition of the North's forestry is not available. According to the unification ministry here, about a third of the North's forest had been destroyed as of 2008, thus increasing the risk of floods and landslides.

The meeting is the latest in a flurry of diplomacy between the two Koreas in the wake of the historic April summit of their leaders that committed to expanding cross-border exchanges and contacts in various areas.

They recently held talks to discuss cooperation on connecting railways and roads over their borders and agreed to hold reunions of families divided by the 1950-53 Korean War in August. A friendly inter-Korean basketball event, the first of its kind in 15 years, is also under way in Pyongyang.

South and North Korean forestry officials meet at the truce village of Panmunjom on July 4, 2018, in this photo from South Korea's unification ministry. Forestry is one of the cooperation areas the two sides agreed on following the inter-Korean summit in April. The North is said to suffer from severe deforestation, which increases the chances of floods and landslides. (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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