Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:38PM - 141 Views

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(AP) The South Korean ruling party's presidential candidate has softened her campaign's stance on reforming industrial conglomerates that dominate the economy, saying their existing ownership would be left intact.

Saenuri Party's Park Geun-hye said Friday that forcing the family-controlled industrial groups known as chaebol to split their intricate cross shareholdings would be costly and put them at risk of foreign takeovers.

Park said if elected president she would prevent the individual companies that make up each conglomerate from future cross shareholdings but not force changes to existing ownership. That would allow founding families to retain control even with a minority stake.

Candidates in the December election have promised to curb chaebol power, a promise that is popular with some South Koreans who accuse the conglomerates of crushing competition and small businesses.

Associated Press
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