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(LEAD) N. Korea to return to same time zone as S. Korea on May 5

All Headlines 07:16 April 30, 2018

(ATTN: REWRITES headline, lead; UPDATES with more info throughout)

SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's parliament on Monday announced its decision to unify its time zone with South Korea's starting May 5 in a bid to promote the two Koreas' reconciliation and unity, the country's state media said Monday.

The North's move follows its leader Kim Jong-un's surprise proposal to move its clock forward 30 minutes, back to the same time as in the South, during his summit with President Moon Jae-in on Friday.

North Korea decided to push 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 under the period.

The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly has decided to adopt a decree on unifying the times of the two Koreas, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The North's leader said its move to unify the time zone is "the first practical step for national reconciliation and unity," the report said.

"Noting that it was a painful wrench to see two clocks indicating Pyongyang and Seoul times hanging on a wall of the summit venue, he proposed unifying the times of the north and the south before doing anything else," Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA.

Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan told reporters about Kim's surprise proposal Sunday.

"Since it was we who changed the time standard, we will return to the original one. You can make it public," Kim was quoted as saying by Yoon.

Moon and Kim held a historic summit last week at the border village of Panmunjom and agreed to seek "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and push for declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War this year.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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