Published On: Wed, Oct 16th, 2019

North Korea news: Kim Jong-un horse photos could signal more missile mayhem | World | News

Aides to the regime in Pyongyang are speculating over a potential “great operation” after Kim visited a sacred mountain in North Korea. The North Korean leader grabbed world headlines when photographs emerged of him riding a large white horse through snowy fields and woods on Mount Paektu, the spiritual homeland of the Kim dynasty. The official news agency in North Korea, KNCA, said: “His march on horseback in Mt Paektu is a great event of weighty importance in the history of the Korean revolution. “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.”

The rumoured policy change remains vague, but the mountainous region has frequently received the President of North Korea in the build up to major announcements.

Analysts say the symbolism underscores North Korea standing up to international sanctions and pressure over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Joshua Pollack, a North Korea expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, told Reuters: “This is a statement, symbolic of defiance.

“The pursuit of sanctions relief is over. Nothing is made explicit here, but it starts to set new expectations about the coming course of policy for 2020.”

US President Donald Trump will be hoping this doesn’t signify another acceleration of Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

Kim declared this week that he will surmount US sanctions whilst the KCNA described their leader as “recollected with deep emotion the road of arduous struggle he covered for the great cause of building the most powerful country with faith and will as firm as Mt Paektu.”

This could indicate that North Korea is ready to continue testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.

READ MORE: North Korea shock: The secret weapon Kim is creating 

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 in denuclearisation negotiations before North Korea will pursue an unspecified new path forward.

With North Korea showing no signs of letting up on its missile agenda, Trump could be in for more difficult talks with Kim.

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