5 Kiwis motor from the Yalu through DMZ

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5 Kiwis motor from the Yalu through DMZ

PAJU - Wrapping up 13 days of motorbiking through one of Korea’s neighbors yesterday, New Zealander Gareth Morgan asked members of the press to think about why they can’t do the same trip in North Korea as himself and his four other bike crew members did.

“I got a rock from the top of Mount Baekdu,” said the 60-year-old adventurer yesterday before a throng of reporters at the Inter-Korean Transit Office in Paju, Gyeonggi. “And I am going to put that rock on the top of Halla on Jeju Island.”

Morgan, an economist-turned-bike-adventurer, began his tour with his wife Jo Morgan and three other companions on Aug. 16 by crossing the Tumen River. The five bikers rode to Mount Baekdu and spent three days in Pyongyang before heading down to Kaesong. They crossed the border at 4:20 p.m. yesterday.

“The landscape was beautiful,” Morgan said, “one of the most beautiful scenes I have seen.”

But it was the hospitality of North Korean people that impressed the group most during the two-week adventure in one of the least-visited nations on the planet.

He said the group was accompanied by North Korean government officials during their stay in the Communist country. They followed the bikers in cars.

The five-member team’s arrival at the Inter-Korean Transit Office marked the first time any person has passed through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on a motorbike since the division of the two Koreas, the Ministry of Unification said.

“Considering the purpose of their tour was to let the world know about the division of the peninsula and contribute to the unification of the two Koreas, the government accepted their request for the passage,” said the ministry in charge of inter-Korean relations.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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