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North Korea to align with South’s time zone as first practical step toward reconciliation

Kim expressed "his resolution to unify the two times ... as the first practical step for national reconciliation and unity," KCNA reported.

North Korea to align with South's time zone as first practical step toward reconciliation North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in raise their hands after signing a joint statement at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP, File)

After the historic meet in which Kim Jong Un crossed over the world’s most heavily armed border and met President Moon Jae-In last week, the North Korean leader on Monday announced that the country will move its clocks 30 minutes forward to unify with the South’s time zone starting this Saturday as a conciliatory gesture, the North’s state media reported.

Saying that it was “a painful wrench” to see two clocks showing different Pyongyang and Seoul times on a wall at the summit venue during his meeting with Moon Jae-In, Kim expressed “his resolution to unify the two times … as the first practical step for national reconciliation and unity,” KCNA reported today.

Both the countries have had different time zones since 2015 when North Korea changed its time to 30 minutes behind the South, created to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule after World War II.

North Korea’s parliament on Monday adopted a decree to return to the same time zone as South Korea from May 5, the state news agency said. Moon’s spokesman Yoon Young-chan earlier hailed the gesture as a “symbolic move” for better ties between Seoul and Pyongyang, news agency AFP reported.

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At their summit Friday, Kim and Moon declared they would take steps to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended only with a truce, and work towards the “denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula. The declaration didn’t offer any specifics on what that meant or how it would progress. US President Donald Trump also welcomed the meeting, even as he raised questions about how long the positive diplomacy would last. “KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” Trump said on Twitter. “Good things are happening, but only time will tell!” he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

First published on: 30-04-2018 at 09:31:55 am
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