North Korea Creates Own Time Zone By Pushing Standard Time Back 30 Minutes

kpopluv, Aug. 7, 2015, 8:54 a.m.


North Korea will push back its standard time by 30 minutes to mark the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japan's colonial rule, the country's official news agency said Friday. North Korea's clocks will be moved back a half-hour starting on the upcoming Aug. 15 anniversary, the Korean Central News Agency said. "The time at 127 degrees 30 minutes east longitude or 30 minutes later than the present one shall be fixed as the standard time of the DPRK and called Pyongyang time," the KCNA report said. DPRK is the country's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The report said the country's cabinet and other government organs will take steps to carry out the decree, which was promulgated by the presidium of the cabinet, the Supreme People's Assembly on Wednesday. "The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time," KCNA said of the latest decision. From 1910-45, Japan colonized what are now the two divided Koreas before the peninsula became independent with Japan's defeat in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945.

Currently, the two Koreas use identical standard time, set under the colonial period. The North Korean decision symbolizes the country's efforts to brush off any vestige of Japan's colonial rule, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies. "The move is seemingly intended to dominate the agenda of removing (the colonial influence) for the 70th anniversary of the division," he said, referring to the separation of the two Koreas in the same year as the liberation.

The time difference could cause some logistical problems, such as the timetables at their jointly run industrial park in the North Korean city of Kaesong. "Some difficulties are likely to come in inter-Korean exchanges including flows to and from the Kaesong Industrial Complex," Unification Ministry Spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said in a briefing. "In the long-term, it could negatively affect inter-Korean integration, standard consolidation and efforts to recover the homogeneity of the South and North."

South Korea has also pursued similar attempts to reset the standard time, with massive social and economic costs getting in the way. Potential confusion expected in joint military operations between Seoul and Washington has also been one of the stumbling blocks. Jeong said South Korea's choice of the current time zone is based on practical benefits such as daylight savings, rather than the colonial history. South Korea is located about midway between China's westward time zone and Japan's eastward time zone, and countries traditionally opt for eastern ones due to practical reasons, he said.

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