North Korea Creates Its Own Time Zone

As though things in North Korea could not have been more bizarre, the country has created its own time zone. And it’s not an hour before or after any other nation.

As CNN reports, North Korea will be setting its clock 30 minutes back, rather than the conventional one-hour increments the rest of the known world uses, on August 15, creating its own GMT +08:30 Pyongyang time zone.

Talk about living in your own little world.

While this piece of near-fictional news may sound bizarre, it did occur decades ago. And, not surprisingly, it was North Korea that had that special half-hour time zone.

According to Asia Times, the GMT +08:30 time zone was North Korea’s time zone before Japan annexed the country over seven decades ago. And apparently that is why Pyongyang announced that it will start using the new time zone on the 15th of August; that date marks North Korea’s 70th anniversary of it’s “liberation” from Japan’s 35-year control.

“The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time while mercilessly trampling down its land,” the North Korean official KCNA news agency announced.

While the idea of a nation annexing another is rather unfortunate, is it really crucial for Kim Jong Un — well, actually the North Korean parliament, which are all really one and the same — to issue a decree to reverse this rather logical decision the “wicked Japanese imperialists” took when they were in control?

Apparently it is.

As the state news agency reported, the decree was issued to reflect “the unshakable faith and will of the service personnel and people.”

How is South Korea dealing with this seemingly irrational decision of its northern neighbor According to BBC News, it isn’t very happy about the time zone change.

“South Korea said the move could cause some short-term inconvenience at the Kaesong industrial plant in North Korea, jointly run by the two Koreas,” BBC News reported.

BBC News also quoted a South Korean Unification Ministry official as saying that the new Pyongyang time zone may cause “some fallout for efforts to unify standards and reduce differences between the two sides.”

South Korea had previously switched to the time zone its northern neighbor plans to switch to, before switching back to the Japanese time zone again in 1961.

According to the New York Post, there are only a handful of countries that have time zones with half-hour increments, including Iran and India. Nepal is the only country with a time zone with an increment of 45 minutes (GMT +05:45).

[Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images]