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South Korean church to end car venture with North: Source

Published on Nov 27, 2012 5:21 PM
Hyung Jin Moon (right), the successor to Sun Myung Moon, the deceased founder of the Unification Church, with Park Sang-Kwon (left) the president of the church-invested Pyeonghwa Motors in North Korea, arrives at the border checkpoint at Dorasan in Paju on Sept 8, 2012, the route that leads to the Seoul-invested industrial estate in the North's Kaesong City. -- PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - One of the more bizarre joint ventures in car-making is set to come to an end following the death of the head of South Korea's Unification Church which is to give its stake in the Pyeonghwa Motors operation to North Korea.

Pyeonghwa, which produces models based on ageing Fiat SpA designs as well as those of Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, is the sole carmaker in isolated North Korea, although few of its impoverished citizens are able to afford its products.

"Pyeonghwa Motors' South Korean side is planning to pull out from the joint automaker and donate its 70-per-cent stake to the North," said a source familiar with the transaction, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Spokesmen for the church were not immediately available for comment.

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