North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un made another horseback trip up a sacred mountain on Wednesday – his second in two months.
Astride a white horse donned with gold accessories, Kim visited the snow-covered Mount Paektu and notable sites and monuments in the area, a visit deemed “of remarkable historic significance” by North Korea’s state-run media, Korean Central News Agency.
Kim “personally left the sacred trace in the revolutionary battle sites in Mt Paektu area, the source of the lifeline of the revolution and inexhaustible patriotism, through knee-high virgin snow,” the report said.
He was accompanied by his top government and military officials in addition to his wife, Ri Sol Ju, who is rarely spotted in public.
Kim previously made a visit to the mountain in mid-October. The mountain, which is an active stratovolcano located on the North Korean-Chinese border, is considered sacred to North Korean culture.
The report noted Kim’s “deeply emotional” visit which drew parallels from history and traditions and appeared to apply them to present issues – possibly a nod to relations with the U.S.
“New issues arise from the global political structure and social and class relations, and the imperialists and class enemies make a more frantic attempt to undermine the ideological, revolutionary and class positions of our Party,” Kim said. “We should always live and work in the offensive spirit of Paektu.”
The U.S. and North Korea have clashed in nuclear discussions as the U.S. won’t budge on its crippling sanctions against North Korea, and the latter is unwilling to take further denuclearization measures without concessions.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry warned on Tuesday that the U.S. decision will determine which “Christmas gift” it will receive from the North. Some have speculated that one possible “gift” may be the resume of long-range missile and nuke tests.
North Korea has tested numerous rocket launches in 2019, which some launches declared by experts as short-range missile launches.