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Kim's Symbolic Horse Ride Suggests Big Decision Is Near

Trip up sacred peak comes ahead of nuke deadline
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 4, 2019 3:35 AM CST
Updated Dec 4, 2019 6:33 AM CST

(Newser) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rode a white horse up a sacred mountain on his second symbolic visit in less than two months, state media reported Wednesday, as his country is threatening provocation if the United States refuses to make concessions in nuclear diplomacy by year’s end. The Korean Central News Agency released photos showing Kim riding a horse on snow-covered Mount Paektu along with his wife and other top lieutenants, also on white horses. Kim also climbed the mountain, the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, on horseback in mid-October. Mount Paektu and white horses are symbols associated with the Kim family's dynastic rule. Kim has made previous visits there before making major decisions.

Kim said that "we should always live and work in the offensive spirit of Paektu," according to KCNA. "The imperialists and class enemies make a more frantic attempt to undermine the ideological, revolutionary, and class positions of our party." The latest trip comes as a year-end deadline set by Kim for Washington to come up with new proposals to salvage nuclear diplomacy is approaching, the AP reports. The North’s Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday it’s entirely up to the United States to choose what "Christmas gift" it gets from the North. North Korean officials have previously said whether North Korea lifts its moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests depends on what actions the US takes.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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