SEOUL, South Korea—North Korea said today it will establish its own time zone next week by pulling back its current standard time by 30 minutes.
Local time in North and South Korea and Japan is the same—nine hours ahead of GMT.
It was set during Japan’s rule over what was single Korea from 1910-45.
The establishment of “Pyongyang time” is meant to root out the legacy of the Japanese colonial period, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
It added the new time zone will take effect Aug. 15—the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule at the end of World War II.
The North’s move appears to be aimed at bolstering the leadership of young leader Kim Jong Un with anti-Japan, nationalistic sentiments, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
Kim took power upon the death of his dictator father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011.
Many Koreans on both sides of the border, especially the elderly, still harbour deep resentment against Japan over its colonial occupation.
South Korea says it uses the same time zone as Japan because it’s more practical and conforms to international practice.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said today that the North’s action could bring minor disruption at a jointly-run industrial park at the North Korean border city of Kaesong and other inter-Korean affairs.