Pyonghwa Builds NK Auto Plant

Financial Times/April 7, 2002

Pyonghwa Motors, an automaker owned by the Unification Church of Rev. Moon Sun-myung, said yesterday it has completed to build an auto assembly in Nampo,North Korea's southwestern coast.

The second-stage of carmaking project between the two Koreas came after last April's agreement, which was initiated by Rev. Moon and North Korea's state Ryonbong Corp., to build car assembly lines in Nampo on North's southwestern coast.

Pyonghwa Motors said it has invested some 71 billion won or $55 million to the build auto assembly in Nampo area, aiming to produce around 10,000 Italy's Fiat cars annually.

In a ceremony, Lee Jung-chul, president of North's Ryonbong Corp., said the plant would plan to expand its annual production capacity to 100,000 cars per year.

Announcing a mid-term plan for the plant, Pyonghwa Motors President Park Sang-kwon said it would try to export car parts and other special-purpose vehicles such as ambulances, fire engine and buses.

In April of 2001, under the contract with Italian automaker Fiat SpA, Pyonghwa Motors was formed to explore North Korean auto manufacturing business opportunities, and Ryonbong Corp., owned 30 percent stake in the Unification Church's automaker.

A year ago, Pyonghwa Motors laid a groundwork to build the auto plant in Nampo, and at current level, around 200 North Korean employees are working at the site.

The Unification Church has so far invested $10 million in North Korea. It runs a hotel, a restaurant and a construction material trading company in Pyongyang,according to industry sources.

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