By Lee Kyoung Mi and Lee Jihae
President Moon Jae-in, on the occasion of Arbor Day, on April 5 visited the region of Gangwon-do Province that was the hardest hit by mountain fires last year.
In Okgye-myeon Township of Gangneung, Gangwon-do Province, the president and first lady Kim Jung-sook expressed gratitude to about 40 firefighters who put out the blaze last year. The presidential couple also planted upright Geumgang pines.
"We will set a three-year plan from this year to 2022 and reforest regions in the order of the severity of damage they suffered," the president told Korea Forest Service Minister Park Chong-Ho.
"We came back to assess the reforestation status of Okgye-myeon, the region hardest hit by Gangwon-do Province's mountain fires last year. I am deeply moved to take part in the reforestation."
President Moon said, "Although we are now engaging in social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I would like to say that we should unceasingly carry on with tree planting and reforestation at this time."
"I am also calling on them (the Korean people) to actively participate in reforestation in such a manner as each person cultivating a tree or donating one."
President Moon also said putting out last year's mountain fires was a benchmark in civic solidarity to overcome a disaster, adding, "The disaster was horrific but I'm sure the people were also proud of joining forces to overcome the disaster."
"With the state of the mind we had then, I'm sure we can overcome COVID-19 as well."