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North Korea Turns Its Clocks to Align with South

North Korea announced that it will change its clocks to align with South Korea's time zone, underscoring recent peace efforts between the two estranged nations.

Illustration image

Korean peninsula with North and South Korea


Time Zone Switch on May 5

According to an official announcement broadcast by state media, North Korea will turn its clocks forward by 30 minutes to align its time zone with that observed south of the border. The change will take effect at midnight (00:00 / 12:00 am) on May 5, local time.

Following the switch, North Korea will observe the same local time as both South Korea and Japan.

Pyongyang Time Scrapped

North Korea currently follows Pyongyang Time, which is 8:30 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). South Korea observes Korea Standard Time, so clocks run 9 hours ahead of UTC.

Another Sign of Thaw in North-South Relations?

North Korea's announcement seems intended to bolster recent peace efforts, which included a historic meeting of the countries' leaders, Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Moon Jae-in of South Korea, resulting in a range of concessions by the North concerning, for example, its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang Time Introduced in 2015

Pyongyang Time (PYT) is a relatively recent invention. It was first introduced in 2015, officially to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese rule.

South Korea did not follow the move although it shares its northern neighbor's history of Japanese colonization—a decision that, at the time, served to highlight once more the tensions between the two Korean nations.