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S. Korea, Central American countries express 'deep concerns' over ocean discharge of harmful materials

Diplomacy 10:43 April 23, 2021

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and eight Central American countries have adopted a joint statement expressing "deep concerns" over a massive discharge of contaminated materials into the ocean, calling for a collective response for marine safety, the foreign ministry said Friday.

The statement was adopted at the vice-ministerial consultative dialogue between South Korea and the members of the Central American Integration System, or SICA in Spanish, that was held in Costa Rica on Thursday (local time).

The statement came amid growing health risk concerns raised by South Korea and other countries over Japan's plan to release more than 1.2 million tons of radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun, who's on a nine-day trip to Latin America, attended the meeting.

"South Korea and the SICA members adopted the joint statement based on the shared understanding about the risks posed by Japan's planned release of the Fukushima contaminated water," the ministry said in a press release.

The two sides expressed "commitment to tackling climate change and preserving biodiversity and deep concerns over the serious situation caused by the ocean discharge of large amounts of contaminated materials that have an adverse effect on marine ecosystem," the statement released by the Seoul ministry read.

They agreed to step up coordination in efforts to protect the global marine environment, including the Pacific Ocean, it said.

During the Korea-SICA dialogue, Choi also agreed with his SICA counterparts to work together to enhance policy cooperation in areas related to eco-friendly initiatives and digital transformation for sustainable growth and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry said.

This photo, provided by Seoul's foreign ministry on April 23, 2021, shows the attendants of the South Korea-SICA consultative dialogue, including South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (5th from L). (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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