PM-water summit

SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won called for international cooperation to better deal with water-related disasters and to guarantee universal access to clean water, his office said Monday.

"Efforts to prepare for water-related disasters are needed from the beginning of the city construction process. An international cooperative mechanism to respond to the disasters should also be strengthened," Chung said in his keynote speech during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit held in the Thai city of Chiang Mai.

The two-day summit from Sunday, which brought leaders from 35 Asian and Pacific countries, is seen as serving as a venue to forge new partnerships on water security and water-related disaster challenges.

Stressing water resources as one of the key basic conditions for a happy life, Chung urged the countries to achieve "the water welfare," which allows everyone, including the underprivileged, to enjoy clean water.

"The urgent task should be the expansion of investment to improve water and other sanitary facilities," Chung said. "We should put the water issues on the top priority of the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda."

Chung also introduced South Korea's experiences about how to manage the water resources and vowed commitments to resolving relevant problems by sharing its technology and knowledge.

"As a host of the 7th World Water Forum slated for 2015, South Korea will pour every effort to integrate member countries' willingness to resolve water-related issues ... After intensive discussions on how to implement diverse measures and pledges, we will practically contribute to seeking solutions," Chung said.

On the sidelines of the summit, Chung held bilateral talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar's Vice President U Sai Mauk Kham, and discussed issues of mutual interest, according to Chung's office.

After meeting with several more high-ranking Thai officials and veterans there who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War, he plans to return home on Tuesday.

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