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Unification Church quits auto venture with NKorea

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December 14, 2012 12:46 AM EST | AP


SEOUL, South Korea — An automaker owned by South Korea's Unification Church says it's quitting its joint venture with North Korea.

Pyeonghwa Motors Corp. general manager Roh Byoung-chun said Friday that Pyeonghwa will sell its 70 percent stake in the 11-year-old joint venture to the North Korean government.

He didn't give a specific reason for the decision but said Pyeonghwa will also close a hotel it has in Pyongyang and try to enter a new business such as retailing.

The auto-making venture is among a number of businesses that the Unification Church has in authoritarian North Korea where very few foreign companies operate.

It makes and sells about 2,000 vehicles annually in the North. It became profitable in 2009 after registering losses for years.