An environmental cooperation center was launched on June 25 to facilitate two-way technology and data exchanges between China and South Korea.
Based at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Studies, or CRAES, in Beijing, the China-Korea Environmental Cooperation Center will have an office building and a laboratory building. Construction is expected to be completed in October next year.
The blueprint for the center emerged in December, when environmental ministers from China and South Korea signed the China-Korea Environmental Cooperation Plan (2018-22), charting a five-year path to jointly solve issues in the fields of air, water, soil and waste.
Kim Eun-Kyung, the South Korean environment minister, said China has made great progress since its initial reform and opening-up 40 years ago.
“The country has taken powerful measures against problems like air pollution and accumulated valuable experience to be shared with other countries,” Kim said.
One key function of the cooperation center is to provide a platform for both sides to share environmental monitoring information, including data of air pollution.
“China was weak in data collection, but after years of research our data and methodologies are developed well enough to be communicated with foreign countries,” said Guo Jing, head of the international cooperation department of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Meanwhile, companies dedicated to environmental technology will take advantage of the center to boost business cooperation between China and South Korea.
“It was difficult for us to introduce South Korean technology into China due to barriers of language, culture and lack of support from the authorities,” said Zhao Baojun, general manager of Beijing CECN, an environmental technology importer and manufacturer. “The center will play an important role in pooling resources and regulating transactions, which can provide convenience for us.”
The newly established center is also tasked with pushing personnel exchange between CRAES and its South Korean counterpart, which has already sent 10 experts to China for long-term research.
“South Korea is strong at fixing pollution sources from businesses and implementing environmental cleanups in rural areas. We are hoping to send more Chinese experts there to learn from them,” said Song Yonghui, vice-president of CRAES.
Environmental cooperation between China, South Korea and Japan began more than 20 years ago, when the Sino-Japan Friendship Environmental Protection Center was set up in 1996 and the first trilateral meeting between environmental ministers from the three countries was held in 1999.
The 20th meeting of three ministers was held on June 23 and 24 in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Chinese environmental minister Li Ganjie said the three sides should further develop the “China-Japan-ROK plus” model of environmental cooperation and share their experiences with other countries.