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(LEAD) S. Korea, Honduras agree to cooperate in energy and climate change

2015/07/20 15:39

(ATTN: UPDATES with quote by Park; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye and her Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, agreed Monday to cooperate in the energy industry and join forces to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for global warming.

The agreement was reached in a summit between Park and Hernandez at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea's presidential office.

The two leaders observed the signing of memorandums of understanding, which call for cooperation, among other things, in improving power transmission and in supplying electric cars and setting up their charging stations in Honduras.

Honduras imports about one-fifth of its electricity needs from neighboring countries as it loses 32 percent of its electricity in transmission and distribution, compared to an average of 12 percent in Central and South America.

The MOU also called for the creation of energy self-sufficient villages in Honduras by using renewable energy and energy-saving devices.

South Korea hopes that its cooperation with Honduras in improving energy efficiency meant to cut down on heat-trapping gases could be recognized in the international community as Seoul's reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

"I hope that bilateral cooperation (in the energy sector) will contribute to the international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions," Park said in a news conference with Hernandez after their summit.

President Park Geun-hye and her Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, hold a joint news conference after their summit at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office, on July 20, 2015. (Yonhap)   President Park Geun-hye and her Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, hold a joint news conference after their summit at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office, on July 20, 2015. (Yonhap)

South Korea has recently offered to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent by 2030 from 850.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, an amount Seoul says it would reach if it let business run as usual

South Korea's contribution calls for reductions of 25.7 percent from the country's business-as-usual level by 2030 and the other 11.3 percent cut comes in the form of purchase of carbon credits to offset emissions.

Park and Hernandez also expressed hope that their two countries can boost trade and investment through a free trade agreement between South Korea and six Central American countries -- Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

In June, South Korea and the six Central American countries declared the official launch of negotiations for a free trade agreement.

The six countries make up the fifth-largest market in Central and South America in terms of their combined gross domestic product. In 2014, trade between South Korea and the six countries reached US$5 billion.

South Korea has clinched a series of free trade agreements with major trading partners, including the United States and China, in recent years as part of its efforts to boost growth in the country's export-driven economy.

Hernandez's trip comes as South Korea is pushing to boost economic ties with South and Central America, a region Seoul calls a continent of opportunities that could give a much-needed boost to Asia's fourth-largest economy.

This visit is his first trip to Asia since he took office in early 2014.

entropy@yna.co.kr

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