Pyongyang: On Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was seen riding a white horse to a sacred snow-covered mountain, the pictures of which have created quite a buzz in political circles and social media around the world.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released photographs of Kim dressed in a long winter coat, on a white horse flanked by his wife and other officials on horseback making their way to Mount Paektu.
According to experts, this particular imagery is heavy with symbolism and may indicate a policy announcement, as Kim in the past has made previous visits to these mountains before making major decisions. This ride up sacred mountain is North Korean leader’s second in less than 2 months and the pictures are generating curiosity as to what Kim Jong might announce next.
Here’ why the visit is symobolic:
Both Mount Paektu and white horses are symbols associated with the Kim family’s dynastic rule.
As per an AFP report, the mountain has great symbolic significance in the North as both the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation and, according to Pyongyang’s orthodoxy, the birthplace of Kim’s father Kim Jong Il.
In October too, Kim Jong Un was seen riding a majestic white horse atop a snowy mountain. Expert had called the photo-op an attempt by the leader to send a clear message: the opportunity for diplomacy is nearing an end.
This trip is seen as extremely significant as it comes as the year-end deadline set by Kim for Washington to come up with a proposal to salvage nuclear talks approaches. The negotiations remain stalled for months, with North Korea trying to win major sanctions relief and outside security assurances in return for partial denuclearization steps, as per a Fox News report.
The North’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday even warned the United States that it’s entirely up to the country to choose what “Christmas gift” it gets from the North. Many experts say the United States is unlikely to make new proposals that would satisfy North Korea, in that case it would be interesting to see what Kim Jong’s reaction is.