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Park hails desalination as water shortage solution

President Park Geun-hye said Thursday that a new innovation center in southeast South Korea could play a leading role in addressing the global water crisis.

South Korea has emerged as a powerhouse in the water treatment and desalination sector at a time when desalination is hailed as a promising industry amid global water shortages.

The innovation center will "play a leading role in solving the global water problem" based on the desalination technology, Park said in the opening ceremony of the latest innovation center in Changwon, an industrial city located about 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The innovation center is the ninth of its kind in South Korea.

South Korea has been pushing to set up such centers across the country to match up local startups and venture firms with conglomerates, known here as chaebol, which can provide resources to smaller companies so that they can turn creative ideas into real businesses.

Park's comments came as South Korea prepares to host the 7th World Water Forum, the world's largest water event, from Sunday to Friday in the two southern cities of Daegu and Gyeongju.

She said the upcoming forum is designed to explore ways to cope with the global water shortages.

The U.N. warns on its website that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions. (Yonhap)