New Zealand motorcyclists allowed to cross Korean border

SEOUL (AFP) - Five New Zealand motorcyclists have been given rare permission to cross the inter-Korean border - the world's last Cold War frontier - after both North and South Korea endorsed the trip, officials said on Wednesday.

The agreement comes amid signs of warming ties between the two countries following months of high tensions.

The motorcyclists are now in Pyongyang and will cross the heavily fortified frontier on Thursday, the South's unification ministry said.

"Our government will allow them to make a trip across the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) tomorrow," a ministry official said, referring to the strip surrounding the border.

Pyongyang had already approved the trip, she said, adding that the DMZ crossover on bikes would be the first of its kind.

The ministry said it approved the crossing since the event would help promote peace on the Korean peninsula.

In early August, the North's media reported on the arrival of the bikers and said they had visited many parts of the country.

After crossing the border, they will tour various parts of South Korea before leaving on September 17, Yonhap news agency said.

The five are members of an adventure travel group called World by Bike.

According to their website (, they have so far visited 80 countries and began their latest trip in Russia.

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