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German firm to set up in joint Korean Kaesong complex

South Korea on Tuesday said it had green-lighted a German firm supplying industrial needles to set up as the first foreign company in the Kaesong joint industrial zone run with North Korea.

SEOUL: South Korea on Tuesday said it had green-lighted a German firm supplying industrial needles to set up as the first foreign company in the Kaesong joint industrial zone run with North Korea.

Groz-Beckert will provide its needles to South Korean firms operating in the Kaesong complex, which opened in 2004 as a rare symbol of cross-border cooperation, the South's unification ministry said.

"It will be the first foreign company to do business there, although its office is not a manufacturing facility," a ministry official told AFP.

The office will be manned by two North Korean workers and several staff from Groz-Beckert's branch in South Korea.

Kaesong, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) on the North Korean side of the border, employs more than 50,000 North Koreans in around 120 South Korean light industrial firms.

Pyongyang shut down the complex in April last year by withdrawing its workforce as military tensions surged in the wake of North Korea's third nuclear test.

It re-opened five months later but talks on reforming the way Kaesong is managed have shown little progress.

South Korea has been pushing hard for overseas involvement in the zone, believing the presence of foreign firms would make it harder for Pyongyang to shut down the complex in the future.

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