President Park Geun-hye expressed hope Tuesday that the extended opening of an expressway connecting the southwestern city of Gwangju and the southeastern city of Daegu will bring the rival regions together.
"I hope that the extended opening of the Gwangju-Daegu expressway will bring about more voluntary exchange and act as a catalyst for regional harmony," Park said.
Park made the remark during the opening ceremony held at Hamyang, some 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
Park said that the expressway is not just a road for automobiles but is expected to serve as a bridge that will bring the people of "Honam" and "Yeongnam" together.
Yeongnam refers to the southeast region that is the political stronghold of Park's ruling Saenuri Party while Honam refers to the southwestern region that is the political turf of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy.
The two regions have long been rivals in the country's politics for decades.
The two-lane Gwangju-Daegu expressway, first opened in 1984, was extended to four lanes and some sections were straightened through the construction. (Yonhap)