Kim poses for photos on white horse on sacred mountain, plans 'great operation'

Kim poses for photos on white horse on sacred mountain, plans 'great operation'
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North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnJapan's role could redefine Asia-Pacific relations under Biden and Suga Biden leans on foreign policy establishment to build team Biden rolls out national security team MORE posed for a series of photos on a white horse climbing a sacred mountain in a message that warned of a “great operation,” according to state media on Wednesday. 

Past climbs up Paektu Mountain, which is said to be the birthplace of Kim Jong Un's father, have often preceded major announcements, including in 2017 when Kim visited the mountain weeks before he hinted at a diplomatic thaw in relations with South Korea.


“His horseback march in Mt Paektu is a great event of weighty importance in the history of the Korean revolution,” reported state media outlet KCNA.

“All the officials who accompanied him to the top of the mountain felt overflowing emotion and joy and convinced that there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and advance the Korean revolution a step forward.”

The pictures, which appear to try to portray strength from Kim and described the strongman as “dignified” and “illustrious,” come amid a stalemate in negotiations with Washington over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. 

Pyongyang threatened last week it could resume nuclear and long-range missile tests after negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea in Sweden collapsed.

North Korea warned that “our patience has a limit,” hinting it may reverse recent disarmament steps it took to build confidence with Washington. 

Trump and Kim have held two official nuclear summits that have thus far yielded little progress. The last one, which took place in Vietnam in February, ended early without an agreement. North Korea has blamed the stalled negotiations on Washington’s “political and military provocations.” 

Kim has called on the U.S. to craft a denuclearization deal by the end of the year and has said he would not dismantle any weapons until sanctions are relieved, but no signs indicate that Washington is willing to lay out a timetable or take its foot off the gas regarding sanctions.