North Korea 'declares war' on deforestation at Paris climate talks

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, on Oct 1, 2015.
North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, on Oct 1, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

LE BOURGET, France (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has launched a war on deforestation, the country's foreign minister said on Monday (Dec 7) at the Paris climate talks, pledging to "actively engage" in global environment efforts.

The reclusive country is among the 195 nations gathered in the French capital to craft a deal aimed at curbing the greenhouse gas emissions that are pushing climate change.

Kim "has declared war on deforestation and has put forward a massive project to turn all the mountains of the country into mountains of gold, thickly wooded with trees," Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong told delegates.

Ri said the country plans to complete a large-scale tree-planting initiative over the next decade, which will help the "national effort to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

He also noted North Korea has an "aim of reducing the country's total amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 37.4 per cent compared with the levels of the 1990s." North Korean carbon emissions plummeted in the 1990s as its economy collapsed, but have crept slowly back up in recent years.

The nation's government "will continue to faithfully discharge its responsibilities as a party to UNFCCC and actively engage itself in international efforts to protect the global environment," said Ri.

The UNFCCC is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), established 1992 as the main international arena for addressing global warming and its impacts.