North launches new time zone with bell ringing

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North launches new time zone with bell ringing

North Korea initiated its new time zone with a bell-tolling ceremony Saturday at midnight, the country’s official broadcaster Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a dispatch.

The communist state said earlier this month it would roll back its current standard time by 30 minutes, in order to root out the legacy of Japanese colonial rule.

Local time in North and South Korea and Japan has been the same since Japan’s rule over what was a single Korea from 1910 to 1945. Saturday was Liberation Day, the anniversary of Korean independence from Japan.

The KCNA showed two Pyongyang citizens ringing the Pyongyang Bell at the Pyongyang Astronomical Observatory. Kim Jong-un at that time was reportedly at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, formerly the Kumsusan Memorial palace, to honor his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong-il.

South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said that North’s latest action to unilaterally create a new time zone could hamper efforts to narrow widening differences between the Koreas.

Seoul said it would stick with the same time zone as Japan because it’s more practical and conforms to international practices.

BY AP, CHUN SU-JIN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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