In the weird but true news category for Friday, the rogue nation of North Korea has announced that it is establishing a new time zone: “Pyongyang Time”. The desperately poor nation is led by an egotistical madman, and in another effort to distract the people of North Korea from thinking too much about the ongoing famine in the country, “Great Leader” Kim Jong Un has declared that the country will now operate in its own time zone.
Pyongyang Time will be 30 minutes later than the current time zone of GMT+9:00 currently used in Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
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The rationale given the new time zone is to break from the “wicked Japanese imperialists” who occupied Korea for 35 years until the end of World War II.
More on the switch to Pyongyang Time
North Korea announced that the time change was approved by its parliament earlier this week, and would be implemented as of August 15. Of note, August 15th of this year is the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula‘s liberation from Japan. All of Korea was occupied by the Japanese from 1910 until the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Keep in mind that standard time in Korea had been running at GMT+8:30, but was changed after the occupation to Japan standard time.
Analysts also point out that South Korea also changed its time in 1954 (also to effect a break from Japanese rule), but eventually went back to Japan standard time in 1961 when Park Chung-Hee took charge in a coup.
The explanation given by the South Korean government at the time was that the two U.S. allies in the Eastern Pacific (South Korea and Japan) needed to be in the same time zone for operational planning purposes.
New time zone could present management problems
Seoul’s Unification Ministry commented on Thursday that a different time zone between North and South Korea could lead to several challenges, especially for operations at the jointly-run Kaesong industrial complex just over the North Korean border.
“In the short term, there might be some inconvenience in entering and leaving Kaesong,” ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee explained to the media. “And in the longer term, there may be some fallout for efforts to unify standards and reduce differences between the two sides.”
Statement from North Korea’s KCNA news agency
KCNA’s Wednesday statement noted: “The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time while mercilessly trampling down its land.”
The statement went on to observe that the parliamentary decree regarding a new time zone showed “the unshakeable faith and will of the service personnel and people on the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation.”
Perspective from political analyst
According to political analysts, the idea of a new time zone was designed to beef up support for the official narrative that describes North Korea as the original and “authentic” Korea, and South Korea as a puppet country controlled by imperialist foreigners.
“The North has always sought to project this image of being more aggressive in wiping out traces of Japanese colonial rule,” explained Yang Moo-Jin, an academic at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
“So this falls in line with its claim to be the only legitimate Korean regime on the peninsula, and its dismissal of the South as a ‘puppet regime’ still sticking to corrupt colonial practices,” Yang commented.
North Korea not interested in nuclear deal
As reported by ValueWalk a couple of weeks ago, a spokesperson for Pyongyang claimed that comparisons between North Korea and Iran were “illogical” and said there was no possibility of nuclear talks. Apparently, a few global leaders had held out hopes that the rogue nation might want to pursue a deal like Iran’s to try and get the long-standing international sanctions lifted.
“The DPRK is not interested at all in the dialogue to discuss the issue of making it freeze or dismantle its nukes unilaterally,” a foreign ministry spokesman noted in a statement.
“It is not logical to compare our situation with the Iranian nuclear agreement because we are always subjected to provocative U.S. military hostilities, including massive joint military exercises and a grave nuclear threat,” the statement added. “We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes.”