North Korea will shift its time zone 30 minutes earlier to align with South Korea starting May 5 “as a first practical step for national reconciliation and unity,” the North’s state media said Monday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said it was “a painful wrench” to see two clocks showing different Pyongyang and Seoul times on a wall at the summit venue during the historic meeting Friday with President Moon Jae-in, KCNA said.
Meanwhile, China will send the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to visit North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday this week, the foreign ministry said on Monday.
The time change report confirmed news from South Korean officials on Sunday that Kim pledged to scrap the northern time zone, which was created in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule after World War Two.
South Korea and Japan are in the same time zone, nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
“It is not an abstract meaning that the north and the south become one but it is just a process in which the north and the south turn their different and separated things into the same and single ones,” Kim said, according to the dispatch.
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 “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. The declaration didn’t offer any specifics on what that meant or how it would progress.