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Park plants national flower on Arbor Day

President Park Geun-hye on Sunday called on people on Arbor Day to join forces in times of difficulty, noting South Korea's successful forestation projects decades ago.

Park said the forestation projects in the 1960s and 70s became successful as many people joined together for a long period of time.

She made the comment after planting South Korea's national flower Mugunghwa, the rose of Sharon, in an Arbor Day ceremony at the garden of the presidential compound.

South Korea, once one of the world's most severely deforested countries, has restored forests following decades of a nationwide campaign to plant trees.

Park's comments also came as she called for efforts to reform South Korea's rigid labor market and civil service pensions.

Park warned last week that by next year the government will be forced to use 10 billion won ($9 million) in taxpayer money every day to fund civil service pensions unless the parliament passes a reform bill by early May.

The case for pension reform for public servants has gained urgency as the increasing average life expectancy for Koreans could further deepen the pension deficit. (Yonhap)