South Korea's finance minister has said public funds could only be used to support General Motors Korea if it was clear that the business could survive on its own long term.

Speaking to Reuters after a policy meeting in Seoul, Kim Dong-yeon said major shareholders and other parties involved need to swiftly come to an agreement on sharing the burden of improving the loss-making operation.

GM shocked South Korea in February with plans to close one local plant and leaving the fate of three others unclear. It is seeking government funding and incentives as well as wage concessions to save the unit, which just posted an annual net loss of US$1.1bn, its fourth straight year in the red.

The government said last week it was aiming to complete a due diligence process on GM Korea by early May as it weighs up financial support for the ailing operations.

"We aim to complete due diligence by the end of April, but expect the process to continue until early May," state-funded Korea Development Bank (KDB) Chairman Lee Dong-geol told Reuters. According to the report, he also said due diligence was progressing and that GM was submitting more documents for review.

GM Korea is facing an increasingly urgent liquidity crisis after it failed to convince labour unions to support its restructuring plan by the end of last month.

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