Updated August. 18, 2014 04:31
At last, we made it!
An auto trek rally team commemorating the 150th anniversary of Koreans moving to Russia has passed North Korea and arrived in South Korea on August 16. This is a first time a team has driven an automobile through Siberia and visited both Koreas. They set off from Russia on July 7, and 40 days later, they arrived at the Dorasan Inter-Korean Transit Town Office in Paju, Gyeonggi Province at the inter-Korean border.
The 32 members and the eight vehicles of the rally team passed through Uzbekistan, then through Khabarovsk, Sakhalin, Vladivostok, and North Korea to arrive in the South. They have logged some 15,000 km, or 380km per day. The Committee for Commemoration Project of the 150th Anniversary of the Relocation of Koryo People said this is to travel in reverse order the route Koreans took when they left the Korean Peninsula to Russia. Since the team donated three of their vehicles to North Korea, just five cars arrived in South Korea.
The Chairman of the association for Koreans in Russia Cho Vasiliy said at the welcome ceremony on August 16 that completing the rally well will chip in with improving inter-Korean relations. He said he hoped for increased peace and goodwill between the two Koreas.
The rally team will continue its drive after arriving in Korea. On the first day, August 16, the team members will attend a banquet hosted by the Speaker of the National Assembly Chung Ui-hwa. On August 17, they will visit Ansan-si, Gyeonggi Province to pay respects to the victims of the Sewol ferry sinking and console the bereaved families. The team will then, on August 18, attend mass at Myeongdong Cathedral said by Pope Francis who is currently visiting Korea, and deliver a message of peace. On the 19th, the team will drive to Busan as part of a people participatory drive, which sets out from Seoul together with some 100 South Koreans, to complete its Russia-Korea journey. They will then follow the eastern coastline of Korea into the northeastern Gangwon Province on a mountains and rivers pilgrimage then leave Korea from Donghae Port on August 24.