President Moon Jae-in gave instructions this morning to devise emergency measures to minimize the effects of fine dust emanating from China by consulting with the Chinese Government.
Specific directives from the President are as follows:
1. The Government should discuss with Chinese counterparts ways to carry out joint emergency measures simultaneously to reduce fine dust when high concentrations occur.
2. The Government should push for a joint plan to induce precipitation over the West Sea as China possesses far advanced technology for artificial rain and the Korea-China environment ministers meeting already produced an agreement to cooperate on related technology. The President noted that making artificial rain over the West Sea would also be helpful to China when it claims that dust generated in Korea is drifting toward Shanghai. In this connection, Chief of Staff Noh Young-min, who served as Ambassador to China, cited its ability to artificially produce a considerable amount of rain from dawn until late at night over metropolitan Beijing, an area the size of Seoul and Gyeonggi-do Province combined.
3. The Government should push ahead with a joint response by working together with Chinese counterparts to develop a fine-dust forecast system. In addition, President Moon emphasized that our capabilities have to be channeled into reducing fine dust, and if necessary, even a supplementary budget has to be drawn up urgently. The supplementary budget would be used to subsidize purchases of an increased number of air purifiers and upgrades to their capacities, as instructed by the President yesterday, as well as to finance cooperative projects with China.
President Moon also urged “an active review of ways to shut down, at the earliest possible stage, coal-fired power plants that have been in operation for over 30 years."
Cheong Wa Dae began its own countermeasures against fine dust at noon today: prohibiting officials and staff from using gas-powered vehicles while at work and their privately owned cars for commuting. When issuing such directives in the morning, Chief of Staff Noh said, “Cheong Wa Dae should show that it is setting an example as fine dust is causing damage and suffering.”
In that regard, Cheong Wa Dae will only operate the six electric and one hydrogen-powered cars in its official 51-vehicle fleet while the emergency fine dust reduction measures are in place. Cheong Wa Dae officials and staff will also be asked to use public transportation during this period except for unavoidable circumstances. They will also be barred from driving cars with license plates that end in odd or even numbers on the respective dates even under the less-severe fine dust advisories.