SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea said Wednesday it has handed out 84 percent of support funds earmarked for local firms that operated factories in the now-shuttered joint industrial park in North Korea to help cover their financial losses.
The government has offered 438.5 billion won (US$399.8 million) out of about 500 billion won in state funds to South Korean companies that had factories at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, according to Seoul’s unification ministry.
Seoul shut down the factory zone in the North’s border city of Kaesong on Feb. 10 in response to North Korea’s nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in the following month.
The shutdown of the complex may have caused 1.5 trillion won in losses, according to local firms, adding that the government’s financial support measures are not sufficient.
The complex, which opened in 2004, had served as a major revenue source for the cash-strapped North.
A total of 124 South Korean companies operated in the zone, some 50 kilometers northwest of Seoul, employing more than 54,000 North Korean workers to produce labor-intensive goods, such as clothes and utensils.