Saturday April 20, 2019
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North Korea Adopts South Korean Time Zone

Pyongyang aligns time zone with Seoul

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae. VOA

North Korea on Saturday moved its clock forward 30 minutes, aligning its time zone with South Korea, a move aimed at promoting the two countries’ reconciliation, Pyongyang’s state media reported.

The change came a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he wanted to unify the time zones to promote inter-Korean reconciliation and unity, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The decision took effect at the stroke of midnight.

“Pyongyang time was reset and applied from May 5, according to a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea,” Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un

“The time-resetting is the first practical step taken after the historic third North-South summit meeting to speed up the process for the North and the South to become one and turn their different and separated things into the same and single ones,” the statement added.

North Korea pushed back its standard time by 30 minutes in August 2015, claiming the move was aimed at removing the vestige of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The two Koreas previously used an identical standard time, set in the period.

North Koreans also have their own calendar. Instead of counting from the birth of Christ, they count from the birth of founding leader, Kim Il Sung. He was born in 1912.

The heads of North and South Korea met on April 27 inside the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas.

They signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula during the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in 10 years. They committed themselves to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and pledged to bring a formal end to the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased, CNN reported.

Also Read: North Korea To Use Same Time Zone As South Korea From May 5

Another sign of the rapprochement will come next week, when a team from the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will travel to North Korea to discuss a proposal to start an air route between the Pyongyang and Incheon, South Korea, Anthony Philbin, the agency’s communications chief, said late Friday.

South Korean aviation officials are still weighing the proposal, which was requested by North Korea in February.

ICAO Asia and Pacific Regional Director Arun Mishra will travel to North Korea with the director of the agency’s air navigation bureau, Stephen Creamer, to open discussion on air navigation and safety issues, according to Philbin. (IANS)

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U.S. And South Korea Work Towards Improving Diplomacy With North Korea

About one hour before the scheduled meeting, around 40 Korean-Americans gathered near the near the White House in a show of support for President Moon, chanting slogans like “Peace maker president” and “We love Moon!”

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White House
US President Donald Trump welcomes South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the White House in Washington, DC, April 11, 2019. RFA

South Korean President Moon Jae-In and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Thursday to keep up diplomacy with North Korea, including possible new summit talks with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, but the allies disagreed on the level of economic sanctions needed to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

At their first meeting since Trump’s failed Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un in February, Trump argued for keeping in place sanctions designed to starve the North’s nuclear and missile programs of hard currency, while saying he was open to meeting Kim a third time.

“We want sanctions to remain in place,” Trump said at the White House, according to U.S. media. “I think that sanctions right now are at a level that’s a fair level.”

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Kim is “a person I’ve gotten to know very well, and respect and hopefully, and I really believe over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen. I think North Korea has a tremendous potential,” Trump told reporters before the talks. VOA

“There are various smaller deals that maybe could happen,” Trump said. “You could work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid of the nuclear weapons.”

Moon did not mention sanctions directly in his White House appearance, but he has called for sanctions relief to coax North Korea to begin nuclear disarmament.

North Korea experts say that Moon, who wants to remove curbs on inter-Korean economic projects, would privately lobby Trump for a gesture to keep Kim engaged in the diplomacy.

The Vietnam summit ended in disagreement over how Kim might shed its nuclear arsenal, as Trump demands and the sanctions relief that Kim seeks as a reward for cooperating.

Trump, who also met Kim in Singapore last year, said: “I enjoy the summits, I enjoy being with the chairman.”

Kim is “a person I’ve gotten to know very well, and respect and hopefully, and I really believe over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen. I think North Korea has a tremendous potential,” Trump told reporters before the talks.

Moon said he was hopeful that a third U.S.-North Korea summit would happen. His national security adviser said Thursday that Moon would also try to have another meeting with Kim.

Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, told RFA that the disagreement about sanctions shows a rift between the U.S. and South Korea in terms of North Korea policy.

“It showed two allies remain far apart on approach to North Korea. President Moon wants to reward North Korea even though there has been no movement in denuclearization. The U.S. said it has no interest in that approach,” he said.

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U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Thursday to keep up diplomacy with North Korea, including possible new summit talks with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, but the allies disagreed on the level of economic sanctions needed to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. Pixabay

Richard Bush, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution said, “I give President Moon credit for trying to engage President Trump on [the North Korea] issue and trying to get closer alignment in our strategy toward North Korea. It appears that his attempt didn’t make too much progress.”

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About one hour before the scheduled meeting, around 40 Korean-Americans gathered near the near the White House in a show of support for President Moon, chanting slogans like “Peace maker president” and “We love Moon!”

Meanwhile, a smaller group of 10 Korean-Americans chanted phrases in support of Trump’s hard line on North Korea and accused Moon of being a North Korean spy. (RFA)