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Seoul Offers Aid to Firms at Suspended Kaesong Complex

South Korea has pledged more than $270 million in emergency aid to South Korean businesses affected by the suspension of a jointly run industrial zone with the North.

Suh Ho, an official with the South's Unification Ministry, said Thursday the low-interest loans will be offered to the 123 businesses involved at the Kaesong industrial complex starting May 6.

"As a first step, South Korea's joint government task force today decided to provide a total of 300 billion won of working funds quickly to the companies in this urgent situation, which is the maximum figure the government can prepare right now."

He says more aid could be offered once Seoul determines the companies' exact needs.

Just seven South Korean workers remain at the complex just north of the border, where they are negotiating over unpaid taxes and wages for North Korean workers.

Seoul on Wednesday reported progress with the talks, but said more time is needed to resolve disagreements before the workers can leave.

South Korea withdrew the rest of its nationals from Kaesong on Monday, after the North rejected talks aimed at keeping it alive.

Established in 2004, Kaesong is the final peaceful link between the two countries and serves as a sign of Korean relations. It has never been completely shut down.

North Korea pulled its 53,000 workers and blocked South Korean entry to the facility last month, as part of its angry reaction to expanded United Nations sanctions against its latest nuclear test.

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