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Kim Jong-un Is Planning to Establish His Own Timezone in North Korea

North Korea is often seen as being backward, but now Kim Jong-un is literally turning the clocks back.

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READ: An Interview with a North Korean Defector Living in London

In a move presumably designed to quell a rare twinge of boredom, Kim Jong-un has decided to create his own timezone, called "Pyongyang time." Next Friday, clocks in North Korea will be put back by half an hour, meaning that North and South Korea are no longer on the same local time, as they have been since 1910.

In a dispatch, the world-famous Korean Central News Agency announced the change, which will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of Japanese rule over the Korean peninsula. Japanese forces left Korea after the Second World War, but both North and South remained on Japanese time.


Relations between the two countries improved slightly last year, when Japan eased sanctions on North Korea in exchange for information about citizens abducted in the 1970s and 80s. Recently though, Japan strongly condemned Pyonyang's missile tests, and—clearly—Japan's occupation still weighs heavily on North Korea's national conscience.

The real world implications of the new timezone likely won't be very significant, although it could create problems for the workers of a factory jointly run by North and South Korea, situated near the border. A South Korean spokesman was quoted in the Guardian as saying that North Korea's new timezone could threaten efforts to reduce the widening gap between the two countries.

Related: Watch 'The VICE Guide to North Korea'