Kiwis start motorcycle ride through Korean Peninsula from Baekdusan

2013-08-20 19:34

A group of motorcycle enthusiasts from New Zealand started a ride through the Korean Peninsula from North Korea.

They launched the trip south in a ceremony held at Mount Baekdusan in North Korea, which straddles the border with China, on Monday, North Korean Central News Agency reported. 
This photo provided by the North Korean Central News Agency shows New Zealand motorcycle adventurers starting a trip south through the DMZ into South Korea from Baekdusan Mountain in North Korea on Monday. (Yonhap News)

The ceremony was attended by guides of the mountain and government officials, including Pak Kyong-il, chairman of North Korea-New Zealand Friendship Society.

Gareth and Joanne Morgan entered North Korea from Khasan, Russia, on Aug. 16 to begin a two-week trip south through the demilitarized zone into South Korea as part of a 40,000-km ride from Russia back to New Zealand.

Over the past two days in North Korea, they visited a nearby statute of the late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung and a house on the mountain where North Koreans says Kim Jong-il, the late son of Kim Il-sung, was born, the North Korean news media said.

“Our wish is the Korean reunification and a free travel from Baekdusan Mountain to Hallasan Mountain in South Korea,” Morgan was quoted as saying by the North Korean news agency.

Hallasan is located on the southern South Korean island of Jeju.

The five New Zealand travelers are scheduled to cross through the border village of Panmunjeom into South Korea on Aug. 29, Morgan said in an interview with Yonhap News shortly before entering the North.

They will reportedly take a break after winding up a trip through the Korean Peninsula before hitting the road again to Vietnam and China.

Gareth Morgan is a 60-year-old New Zealand economist and motorcycle adventurer, who has ridden every continent with his wife Jo as part of their World By Bike expeditions.

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