According to their state media, North Korea will switch time zones later this month, returning to the GMT +8:30 time standard that the Korean Peninsula was on before 1910. They said this was done break from “wicked Japanese imperialists.”
The current GMT +9 time zones in North and South Korea were imposed by the Japanese government during the colonial era. This put the Korean Peninsula into the same time zone as Japan itself is, for convenience’s sake.
It is not that unusual for nations to change time zones like this. Venezuela is alone in the GMT – 4:30 time zone, part of an effort by the country to normalize the amount of sunlight across both the east and west of the country. Samoa changed their zone in 2011, jumping across the international dateline to improve ties with Australia.
South Korean officials said the move by the north may cause some temporary “inconvenience” at the Kaesong Industrial Plant, a North Korean facility jointly run with South Korean corporations. The South Korean Unification Ministry, which focuses on plans to absorb the north, complained the move could hurt efforts to “unify standards” across the two nations.