October 17, 2019 13:41
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has scaled Mt. Baekdu on a white horse, state media reported Wednesday.
Kim often visits the mountain, the mythical birthplace of nation founder Kim Il-sung, before making momentous decisions, for example in December 2013, just before executing his uncle Jang Song-taek, and in late 2017 just before the North announced the completion of its nuclear weapons program.
The latest, somewhat "Game of Thrones" photo op took place after working-level talks with the U.S. collapsed while the North threatened to resume nuclear and missile tests.
This is the first time Kim has climbed it on a white horse, though they are often used as propaganda tools because of a myth that Kim Il-sung traversed the battlefield on such a steed during the guerilla wars against the Japanese occupiers.
Kim In-tae at the Institute for National Security Strategy said the stunt seems intended to justify the hereditary transfer of power and stir up patriotism among North Koreans amid international sanctions."
The official Rodong Sinmun daily also reported that Kim visited a construction site in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province, where the North is building a tourism complex.
He told the workers that North Korea faces "many obstacles and ordeals" due to the "stubborn sanctions and suffocating schemes of enemies." "Raise the banner of self-sufficiency even higher," he urged his fellow countrymen.
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