Seoul, May 5 (IANS) North Korea on Saturday moved its clock forward 30 minutes, aligning its time zone with South Korea, a move aimed at promoting the two countries’ reconciliation, Pyongyang’s state media reported.
The change came a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he wanted to unify the time zones to promote inter-Korean reconciliation and unity, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The decision took effect at the stroke of midnight.
“Pyongyang time was reset and applied from May 5, according to a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea,” Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.
“The time-resetting is the first practical step taken after the historic third North-South summit meeting to speed up the process for the North and the South to become one and turn their different and separated things into the same and single ones,” the statement added.
North Korea pushed back its standard time by 30 minutes in August 2015, claiming the move was aimed at removing the vestige of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
The two Koreas previously used an identical standard time, set in the period.
North Koreans also have their own calendar. Instead of counting from the birth of Christ, they count from the birth of founding leader, Kim Il Sung. He was born in 1912.
The heads of North and South Korea met on April 27 inside the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas.
They signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula during the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in 10 years. They committed themselves to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and pledged to bring a formal end to the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased, CNN reported.
Another sign of the rapprochement will come next week, when a team from the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will travel to North Korea to discuss a proposal to start an air route between the Pyongyang and Incheon, South Korea, Anthony Philbin, the agency’s communications chief, said late Friday.
South Korean aviation officials are still weighing the proposal, which was requested by North Korea in February.
ICAO Asia and Pacific Regional Director Arun Mishra will travel to North Korea with the director of the agency’s air navigation bureau, Stephen Creamer, to open discussion on air navigation and safety issues, according to Philbin.