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(LEAD) Moon observes S. Korea's first hydrogen-fueled city bus

All Headlines 16:27 June 05, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in last 6 paras; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in attended a symbolic ceremony to unveil a hydrogen bus in a southern town Wednesday, a move to demonstrate his administration's resolve to foster next-generation vehicles as a new growth engine.

Moon observed South Korea's first hydrogen-fueled bus for regular intra-city bus service, which will make its debut in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on Thursday. He boarded the bus after participating in a World Environment Day event at Changwon Exhibition Convention Center (CECO) in the city located about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

He had a trial ride in a hydrogen-powered Nexo taxi during a visit to Paris in October last year. He also inspected a hydrogen-charging station.

Earlier this year, Moon's office announced that it would strategically develop the next-generation car, non-memory chip and bio-health sectors as the nation's future economic growth engines.

President Moon jae-in (C) disembarks from a hydrogen bus in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on June 5, 2019. (Yonhap)

South Korea plans to run 35 hydrogen buses for residents in Changwon and six other cities -- Seoul, Busan, Ulsan, Gwangju, Asan and Seosan -- this year. It aims to produce a total of 1.8 million hydrogen cars and install 660 charging stations nationwide by 2030.

There will be 310 stations by 2022 under a joint project of the transportation, commerce and environment ministries. They plan to announce further details soon.

In a speech to commemorate World Environment Day, Moon, who took office in May 2017, said, "The past two years were a process to create a foundation necessary for the health and safety of the people, including a reduction in fine dust, the safe use of chemical materials and a response to climate change."

He stressed that it's the people's right to have clean air.

"(The government) will reduce the level of fine dust emission more than 30 percent by 2022, compared with 2016," Moon said.

He added it will "phase out 1 million old diesel cars by 2021, while quickly expanding the supply of eco-friendly cars."

The government expects 430,000 electric vehicles and 67,000 hydrogen cars to be available across the nation by 2022.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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