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Kim Jong Un shown 'horsing' around on snow-covered Mount Paektu

By
Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un appeared on horseback in his latest public appearance at Mount Paektu, North Korea. Photo by KCNA
Kim Jong Un appeared on horseback in his latest public appearance at Mount Paektu, North Korea. Photo by KCNA

Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un made a rare appearance on a white steed during what state media described as a field guidance near Mount Paektu, a sacred landmark and official birthplace of his father, Kim Jong Il.

The North Korean leader made his first appearance on horseback at Mount Paektu in an event state media described as the "first snow."

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"At Mount Paektu, the mount of victory, fabled snow glittered around Comrade Kim Jong Un, who has been leading the flow of history toward justice and truth, while steadily leading the nation to its utmost powers," KCNA said in statement.

A separate KCNA article said Kim was in nearby Samjiyon County, inspecting construction. Kim has visited Samjiyon multiple times in 2019, where the regime has been reportedly building a resort.

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The article condemned North Korea's enemies and "anti-state" actors who have taken "the United States as their ringleader."

"The pain they have caused our people have turned into anger," KCNA said. "We must continue to live well, while taking on the banner of self-reliance."

Kim has made symbolic appearances on Mount Paektu in previous years ahead of major decisions, in February 2013, November 2014 and December 2017, South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo reported Wednesday.

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Kim's appearance on a white horse also seemed to mimic his grandfather Kim Il Sung, who was often portrayed on horseback in state propaganda.

South Korean analyst Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University told the Hankook Ilbo the North Korean photo op appeared to be a display of "stability."

Yang Moo-jin, a South Korean analyst and professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said Kim is "accelerating" efforts to promote construction at Samjiyon ahead of next year's 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party.

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The anniversary will be observed in October 2020.

North Korean officials most recently met with U.S. counterparts in Sweden but talks collapsed, according to statements from Pyongyang.

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