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Friday, August 7, 2015, 13:10

DPRK creates Pyongyang Standard Time

By Reuters

 DPRK creates Pyongyang Standard Time
This undated picture released from DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Aug 6, 2015 shows leader Kim Jong-un (second right) visiting a farm machine exhibition. (AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT)

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is creating its own time zone, moving its clocks back by 30 minutes to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese rule, the official KCNA news agency said on Friday.

DPRK is in the same time zone as Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

The change to what it calls "Pyongyang time" will become effective on Aug 15 and return it to the time zone used across the Korean peninsula before Japanese rule.

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

Korea had used 127 degrees 30 minutes east - the longitude that KCNA said would be used for the new time zone - when it first introduced the concept of an official time zone in 1908.

Japan ruled the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945. A decree by colonial Japan in 1912 moved the time line to where Korea Standard Time is currently set, 135 degrees east longitude.

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

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

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

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