North Korean leader Kim Jong-un aides are convinced with the fact that he plans a great operation, state media said on Wednesday in a report.
A series of photos were released by a state news agency in which Kim is seen riding alone on a large white horse through snowy fields and woods on Mt Paektu, the spiritual homeland of the Kim dynasty.
“His march on horseback in Mt Paektu is a great event of weighty importance in the history of the Korean revolution,” KCNA said.
“Having witnessed the great moments of his thinking atop Mt Paektu, all the officials accompanying him were convinced with overflowing emotion and joy that there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and make a step forward in the Korean revolution.”
It was still unclear that what the operation might involve, but Kim has often made trips to the sacred mountain at times of major policy endeavours.
In late 2017, Kim visited Mt Paektu days after North Korea launched its largest intercontinental ballistic missile, and weeks before he made a key New Year’s speech in which he opened the door to engagement with South Korea.
Last year, Kim took South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the top of the mountain as part of a historic summit.
Since then relations have cooled and Kim has said he will only wait until the end of the year for the United States to soften its stance on denuclearization negotiations before North Korea will pursue an unspecified new path forward.
Rachel Minyoung Lee, an analyst with NK News, a website that monitors North Korea said, “The report in Korean has characterized Kim’s climb up to Mt Paektu on horseback as a new ‘myth’, and that, together with the images of him on a white horse, appears to have been designed to create maximum propaganda effect, which I believe media will play up in the days to come,”
Earlier in the month, North Korea launched its 11th weapons test so far this year and the first SLBM test since August 2016, when it test-fired a Pukguksong-1 ballistic missile off the east coast, which flew about 500 km. During the previous 10 rounds of tests, Pyongyang fired only short-range projectiles.
In the month of August, North Korea fired two projectiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea.
North Korea is under heavy US and UN sanctions over its weapons programmes and has criticised Washington’s position that sanctions against the isolated regime will not be lifted until the country gives up its nuclear weapons.
(With Inputs from AFP)