It's a little bit like a joke with several punchlines. Kim Jong Un climbed a mountain and ... didn't so much as scuff his black leather shoes. Or ... was covered by the press as being able to control the weather. Those are two of the unusual headlines to pop up after Kim reportedly recently scaled the 9,000-foot Mount Paektu, an active volcano which sits along the country's border with China and is considered sacred by North Koreans, reports Yonhap. The Telegraph describes the images released by state-run KCNA on Saturday as showing Kim clad "in formal attire and shiny, black leather brogues," without any apparent "specialized equipment" for climbing. State newspaper Rodong Sinmun made the claim in its account of the excursion that Kim can control "the nature."
USA Today translates that as him being able to manipulate the weather. The apparent proof is that the blizzard Kim stepped into was replaced by "fine weather unprecedented"; credit went to Kim for interrupting what should be a dour winter day with sunshine. Per the report, while at the peak he recalled "the emotion-charged days when he realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." The Korean JoongAng Daily speculates as to whether his visit to the mountain could precede a big announcement or event, as it has done in the past for both Kim and his father, Kim Jong Il. The younger Kim has scaled the mountain five times as leader, though never in December; the temp at the peak on Friday was -4 degrees Fahrenheit, it notes. (Some experts fear the nuclear testing could trigger Paektu to erupt.)