South Korean President Moon Jae In has proposed a joint project with China to use
artificial rain to clean the air in Seoul, where an acute increase in pollution has caused alarm.

Moon yesterday told government officials to quicken the retirement of old coal-burning power plants, spokesman Kim Eui Kyeom said.

Seoul has been struggling to tackle the rise in air pollution that experts have linked to China's massive industrial activity and emissions from South Korean cars.

Fine-dust levels in South Korea have hit new highs over the past week, leaving people wearing masks while commuting under thick-grey skies.

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In a meeting with government officials, Moon noted that China was "much more advanced" than South Korea in technologies for initiating rain and expressed hope that creating rain over waters between the countries would help mitigate air pollution.

Moon also proposed South Korea and China develop a joint system for issuing air pollution alerts, Kim said.