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Gov't plans additional aid for companies forced out of Kaesong complex

South Korea will provide 6.6 billion won ($5.7 million) in financial assistance to companies struggling with losses from their investments in the shuttered industrial complex in North Korea, the unification ministry said Thursday.

The government plans to deliver 5.1 billion won to companies that withdrew their businesses from the Kaesong Industrial Complex to help offset their investment losses and 1.5 billion won to the workers in compensation, according to the Ministry of Unification. 

The additional subsidy comes six months after the government announced its plan to provide 520 billion won to support companies and their workers as it takes time for them to rebuild their businesses and land jobs.

"We have decided to provide additional financial aid to the affected companies after determining they suffered extended losses from investment in Kaesong," a ministry official said.

In May 2010, Seoul banned most economic and cultural exchanges with North Korea to punish it for the torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan that killed 46 sailors.

In February of this year, the government shut down the joint industrial park in North Korea's border city of Kaesong in a move to cut off the inflow of hard currency to a Pyongyang that has aggressively pursued its nuclear weapons and missile development programs.

Once hailed as the symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation, the Kaesong Industrial Complex opened in 2004 and served as a major revenue source for the cash-strapped North. (Yonhap)