By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - South Korea has appointed former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as head of a new organization to tackle air pollution in the country, local media reported Thursday.
The UN secretary general made the decision public after meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential office on Thursday, according to Yonhap news agency.
Ban stepped down as the UN secretary general in late 2016.
President Moon asked Ban to help his government tackle the issue of fine dust pollution, “which could upset his country's fragile relations with China”, the news agency said.
South Korea has blamed China for air pollution in the country.
However, Beijing insisted there was no scientific evidence to prove any link between air pollution in China and that in South Korea, according to Yonhap.
After his meeting with President Moon, Ban said: "Many have expressed concerns [about me taking the job] and it was because fine dust pollution is a complicated issue caused by many factors inside and outside of the country that will not be easy to solve."
"I believe it is important to first scientifically identify the local and overseas sources of fine dust. It is true that a large part has already been identified but we still need to prove them scientifically," Yonhap quoted Ban as saying.