North Korean leader Kim Jong Un staged a photoshoot atop a snowy, symbolic mountain that the country claims he rides often before making key decisions.
The photos show a bespectacled Kim wearing a long, light-brown coat and riding on horseback up snow-covered Mount Paektu. The mountain, the highest point on the Korean Peninsula, is sacred to North Koreans, and both it and the white horse are symbols associated with the Kim family’s dynastic rule.
The images were released by North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, days after North Korea’s first nuclear talks with the U.S. in more than seven months fell apart.
Kim previously visited Mount Paektu before executing his powerful uncle in 2013 and entering into diplomacy with South Korea and the U.S. in 2018.
Although meant to portray a powerful statement, many users took to Twitter to mock the world leader.
The snowy backdrop of Mount Paektu reminded many of the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones.”
All hail to the #KingInTheNorth
— CryptoBunny (@Cryptobunny90) October 16, 2019
Others took the liberty of editing the photos to include their favorite movie and TV show characters.
— Disney Character Peter Griffin In Random Photos (@PeterInPhotos) October 16, 2019
Many Twitter users drew comparisons between the North Korean leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
— Elliot Wagland (@elliotwagland) October 16, 2019
In 2009, Russia released images that depicted a shirtless Putin riding horseback through southern Siberia.
The Russian leader staged another photoshoot in Siberia last week as he celebrated his 67th birthday by hiking through the forested mountains.
The white horse is a propaganda symbol for the Kim family, which has ruled North Korea for seven decades with a strong personality cult surrounding family members. State media have occasionally shown Kim, his sister and his father riding white horses. The symbolism goes back to Kim Il Sung, who according to the North’s official narrative rode a white horse while fighting Japanese colonial rulers.
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