North Korea sets new time zone
PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea set itself a new time zone Saturday in a move expected to complicate relations with South Korea.
North Korea’s time zone is now 30 minutes behind that of the South.
“The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK decided to set the standard time of the Republic with 127 degrees 30 minutes east longitude as a standard and to apply it from August 15,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch, referring to the country’s rubberstamp parliament.
DPRK is the acronym of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea marked the start of the new time zone by ringing the Pyongyang Bell at the Pyongyang Astronomical Observatory at the stroke of midnight, according to KCNA.
“At the same time, all industrial establishments, trains and ships across the country sounded sirens and whistles,” it said. “Service personnel of the Korean People’s Army on their duties of defending the country, scientists working on satellites to explore a new area of conquering space and all other people of the country set their clock and watches according to Pyongyang time amid excitement and delight at the national event.”
On Aug. 7, North Korea announced it would turn back its clocks by 30 minutes to rid itself of the legacy of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.
South Korean officials have expressed concern the move will complicate inter-Korean affairs, particularly movements in and out of the joint industrial complex in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong.
It could also create confusion in messages exchanged between their militaries.