World / Asia-Pacific

Pyongyang to set up its own time zone

By Associated Press in Seoul (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-08 07:39

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea said on Friday it will establish its own time zone next week by pushing back its current standard time by 30 minutes.

Local time in the DPRK and the Republic of Korea and Japan is the same - nine hours ahead of GMT. It was set during Japan's rule over what was a single Korea from 1910 to 1945.

The establishment of "Pyongyang time" is meant to root out the legacy of the Japanese colonial period, the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency said.

It said the new time zone will take effect next Saturday on the 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese rule at the end of World War II.

"The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time while mercilessly trampling down its land with a 5,000-year-long history and culture and pursuing the unheard-of policy of obliterating the Korean nation," the news agency said.

Many Koreans, especially the elderly, on both sides of the border still harbor deep resentment against Japan over its colonial occupation.

Pyongyang to set up its own time zone

Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were forced to fight as front-line soldiers, work in slave-labor conditions or serve as prostitutes in brothels operated by the Japanese military during the war.

The ROK says it uses the same time zone as Japan because it is more practical and conforms to international practice.

The Unification Ministry in Seoul said on Friday that the DPRK's action could bring minor disruption to a jointly-run industrial park in the border city of Kaesong and to other inter-Korean affairs. Spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said the new time zone could also hamper efforts to narrow widening differences between the Koreas.

Most time zones in the world differ in increments of an hour and only a small number of countries use zones that are offset by half an hour.

The time zone the DPRK plans to use is what the single Korea adopted in 1908, although the peninsula came under the Japanese zone in 1912, two years after Tokyo's colonial occupation began.

(China Daily 08/08/2015 page9)

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