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World Kim Jong Un is back on his white horse, as North Korea flags a big decision

06:55  04 december  2019
06:55  04 december  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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North Korea ’s leader appears to have already decided on his “new path” and it’s unlikely to be good news for the United States. Kim Jong Un toured battle sites on horseback around Mount Paektu, on the North Korea -China border, in a photo released Wednesday by North Korean state media.

North Korean leader’s heavily publicised trip up Mount Paektu on white horse could be sign of a big decision .

TOKYO —North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on his white horse, inspecting “revolutionary battle sites” in knee-high virgin snow on a sacred mountain, state media announced on Wednesday, as Pyongyang foreshadowed a major policy decision later this month.

Kim Jong-un et al. that are standing in the snow: Kim Jong Un toured battle sites on horseback around Mount Paektu, on the North Korea-China border, in a photo released Wednesday by North Korean state media.© Str/Kcna Via Kns/Afp Via Getty Image Kim Jong Un toured battle sites on horseback around Mount Paektu, on the North Korea-China border, in a photo released Wednesday by North Korean state media.

The images of Kim on horseback, returning to Mount Paektu after a similar visit in October, were high on symbolism. But it was a second, more dryly worded announcement on Wednesday that was at least as significant.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has opened a flagship construction project close to Mount Paektu, a Winter already has North Korea 's far north firmly in its grip, and icicles hung from buildings, Korean Central Television (KCTV) footage showed -- the largely empty streets covered in snow.

North Korean leader Kim Jong - un ’s recent tour to Mount Paektu to visit historical sites might have Kim Jong - un is back at Mt Paektu, and back on his horse .It’s decision time for North Korea . https More signs/symbolism/warning from Kim Jong Un that all is not well with US- North Korea

The Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea decided to convene the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in the latter part of December, the Korean Central News Agency said, “to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the changed situation at home and abroad.”

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Put simply, after giving the United States until the end of the year to change its approach to denuclearization talks and warning that North Korea would follow a “new path,” Kim appears to have made his decision on what that path should be, experts said.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong - un has agreed to shut one of the country's main missile testing and launch sites. He signed a pledge to permanently close the Tongchang-ri facility, after talks in Pyongyang with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in. Both leaders also "agreed on a way to

Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea specialist at South Korea’s Sejong Institute, said the announcements taken together did not bode well for relations with Washington.

“Kim Jong Un is displaying strong hostility and a strong will to resist the United States in order to gather support ahead of announcing the ‘new path,’” he said.

“The party plenum is likely to see a strong criticism against the United States and South Korea. North Korea is highly likely to announce the discontinuation of nuclear talks and the establishment of North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.”

a group of people cross country skiing in the snow: This picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows leader Kim Jong Un, left, and his entourage walking through snow on Mount Paektu.© Str/Kcna Via Kns/Afp Via Getty Images This picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows leader Kim Jong Un, left, and his entourage walking through snow on Mount Paektu.

Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said a Workers’ Party plenum was more significant than Kim’s much-anticipated New Year’s Day speech. The last plenum took place in April, when Kim called on the United States to make a “bold decision” while threatening to put his country on a “new path.”

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“We want to thank Kim Jong - un who really was excellent to these three incredible people.” He argues that they mean little compared to the new tone of conversations, and that even though North Korea has not disassembled a single weapon, his mission should be judged a success.

Army of suited North Korean bodyguards jog either side of Kim Jong - un ’s car as it crosses the The dictator was heading back across the northern boarder to have some lunch after a morning of Kim Jong - un 's battalion of bodyguards kept pace with the limo and changed formation as it went around a

“Presumably we will learn what happens next,” he tweeted, suggesting important new policy guidance, with the possibility that may involve a return to the byungjin policy of simultaneous military and economic development.

On Tuesday, North Korea warned that time was running out before its year-end deadline, and threatened an unwelcome Christmas gift for the United States, but experts said its decision may have already been made.

“The door has closed. We’re just waiting to see what happens next,” Panda tweeted.

Mount Paektu is enshrined in North Korean revolutionary myth as the birthplace of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, and a key military base for his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, during the struggle against Japanese colonial rule. The third-generation leader’s visit to the peak read like an attempt to burnish his leadership credentials and prepare the country for a policy shift. Previous visits to the mountain have come before major decisions.

“It is of remarkable historic significance that Kim Jong Un, the great leader of our revolution who opens up the period of a great leap for the development of the revolution, personally left the sacred trace in the revolutionary battle sites in [the] Mount Paektu area, the source of the lifeline of the revolution and inexhaustible patriotism, through knee-high virgin snow,” KCNA reported.

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Kim Jong - un celebrates with his generals after the latest Hwasong-14 missile testCredit: EPA. North Korea slammed the move to send the bombers to the Korean PeninsulaCredit: AFP or The UK ambassador to the UN , Matthew Rycroft, this week warned that Kim 's nuclear ambitions could be

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Kim said his tour had “hardened his resolution to defend the gains of the revolution.”

a person standing in front of a mountain: Kim is seen on Mount Paektu, which is revered in Korean revolutionary mythology as the birthplace of the dictator’s father, Kim Jong Il.© Str/Kcna Via Kns/Afp Via Getty Image Kim is seen on Mount Paektu, which is revered in Korean revolutionary mythology as the birthplace of the dictator’s father, Kim Jong Il. He said Korean people needed to have a proper understanding of the “revolutionary traditions” of Mount Paektu, and that this would help them “demonstrate the country's dignity and honor before the world.”

This spirit, he added, would enable them to overcome “the unprecedented blockade and pressure imposed by the imperialists,” and help them “get prepared for the harshness and protracted character of our revolution.”

Kim reported from Seoul.

simon.denyer@washpost.com

North Korea calls Trump 'erratic' old man over tweets .
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea insulted U.S. President Donald Trump again on Monday, calling him a “heedless and erratic old man” after he tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wouldn’t want to abandon a special relationship between the two leaders and affect the American presidential election by resuming hostile acts. A senior North Korean official, former nuclear negotiator Kim Yong Chol, said in a statement that his country wouldn’t cave in to U.S. pressure because it has nothing to lose and accused the Trump administration of attempting to buy time ahead of an end-of-year deadline set by Kim Jong Un for Washington to salvage nuclear talks.

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