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New Zealand motorcyclist set to travel through Panmunjom

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Published : 2013-07-12 20:12
Updated : 2013-07-12 20:12

Gareth Morgan, a New Zealand economist and motorcycle adventurer, will travel through Panmunjom, the truce village in Korea’s heavily-fortified demilitarized zone.

Morgan and five others plan to ride for a 40,000-kilometer trip from Russia to New Zealand. The crossing is part of the trip.

According to the Dominion Post, a New Zealand newspaper, Friday, the 60-year-old motorcycle traveler, who is also known for philanthropic and nature preservation activities, has finally been granted permission from the South Korean government to travel through Panmunjom into South Korea from the North. 
This picture from the blog of Gareth Morgan shows him posing for a photo during his motorcycle travels in China in 2005. (Yonhap News)

Although Morgan is recovering from a hernia, he said he would be ready to ride when the crew departs for Russia next week.

In May, the trip had been approved by North Korea, and by the United States and New Zealand governments, but not by the South Korean government. Now South Korea has also given its approval.

The DMZ is a buffer between the two Koreas, where movement is controlled by the United Nations. Panmunjom is the Joint Security Area where South and North Korea hold talks, the Post said.

“I’m trying to remind the world that this is one people ― they’ve had a 4,000-year history and this bloody wall’s only been there 60 years,” Morgan was quoted as saying.

The riders include his wife, Jo.

Jay Waters, executive assistant at the South Korean Embassy in Wellington, said the South Korean government had granted permission because Morgan’s group was “from a friendly country.”

Morgan and his wife have ridden every continent in the world on motorcycles as part of their World By Bike expeditions. These trips are documented on their motorcycle travel website (www.worldbybike.com). Together they have written five motorcycle travel books.

By Chun Sung-woo (swchun@heraldcorp.com)

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