The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, on a white horse in the first snow climbed the highest peak in the country – Mount Pektusan, which is considered sacred in the DPRK. The CTC information agency of the country published a selection of photographs where the country's leader in a coat rides along the snowy slopes of the volcano.
"His ascent of Mount Pektusan on horseback is a great event of great importance in the history of the Korean revolution," the agency said.
It is known that Kim Jong-un previously climbed to the top of the mountain in anticipation of important events for the country or for him personally. What can this event mean now?
Experts do not exclude that the new appearance of the DPRK leader at the top of Pektusan may be an alarming sign for Western countries and their allies.
In 2017, Kim Jong-un went up to the top of the mountain a few weeks before his New Year’s address to the nation, in which he hinted at establishing a dialogue with South Korea. Then, judging by the photos published by the CTAC agency, Kim Jong-un climbed to the top in black leather city boots.
Presumably, Kim Jong-un during his tenure as head of state climbed Mount Pektusan at least three times. In 2018, he climbed to the top with South Korean President Moon Jin.
LaboutRa Biker, BBC correspondent in Seoul
First, let's talk about these epic shots. Nothing so elevates the image of power as the leader of the country, riding a horse on the first snow on the side of a mountain that is considered sacred to the inhabitants of the country.
Perhaps this is an attempt to emphasize the power and authority of the Pektu dynasty – the Kim dynasty is called so. Undoubtedly, this is a rather straightforward reminder to the people of North Korea of the power of the DPRK leader and his riding skills.
But there are a few statements in the state media that should make us think. According to these statements, Kim Jong-un’s entourage is convinced that “a major operation will soon be undertaken that will make the whole world wonder.”
Prior to this, Kim Jong-un climbed Mount Pektusan on the eve of the announcement of important decisions.
It is said that this time Kim Jong-un may reconsider his promise to refrain from testing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. Now negotiations with the US are at an impasse, and Donald Trump is now more concerned about domestic politics and a number of other international issues.
Perhaps the North Korean leader hopes that the fresh mountain air will help him find new ways to attract the attention of the Trump administration.
Pyongyang gave the US time until the end of the year to resume denuclearization talks. Previously, Kim Jong-Un repeatedly demanded a relaxation of sanctions before Pyongyang began to take any steps to curtail its nuclear program. However, he never managed to convince Washington.
Perhaps Kim Jong-un believes the time has come to put pressure on the West with a few new missile launches?
Although perhaps the North Korean leader is just enjoying the first snow of the coming winter?
I think that we will find out which of the expressed versions is closest to the truth in the coming months.
"Sacred mountain of revolution"
In early October, negotiations between representatives of the United States and the DPRK took place in Sweden. These were the first negotiations since the meeting of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump on the border of the DPRK and South Korea in June this year. Then the ambassador on special instructions of the DPRK Foreign Ministry, Kim Myung-Gil, said that negotiations with American colleagues did not live up to Pyongyang's expectations and ultimately failed.
The United States, on the contrary, stated that in Sweden the American and North Korean delegations had a thorough discussion.
Before the talks, North Korea tested a new type of ballistic missile – it was the 11th test since the beginning of this year.
Mount Pektusan – a volcano on the border of the DPRK and China, its height is 2744 meters. This is the highest point of the Korean Peninsula, which in North Korea is called the "sacred mountain of the revolution."
The image of the mountain is on the coat of arms of the DPRK. According to legend, it was on Pektusan that Hwanung descended from heaven – the father of the founder of the Korean state of Kochoson. In addition, it is believed that here during World War II, in February 1941, the father of the current DPRK leader, Kim Jong Il, was born.