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Seoul (CNN) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took a scenic ride - which is politically very significant - on a white horse on a snowy mountain that is considered sacred to many Koreans.
The photos published on Wednesday by KCNA, the state media of North Korea, show the leader riding a white steed, crossing the trees and on snow-covered mountain plains.
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But it wasn't an ordinary ride on the mountain: according to KCNA, Kim was watching the first snowfall on Mount Paektu, one of the most important cultural and geological sites in the country.
Paektu, a still active volcano, is the highest point on the Korean peninsula. According to legend, it is the birthplace of Dangun, the mythical founder of the first Korean kingdom about 4,000 years ago.
During last year's peace talks, Kim took South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the symbolic mountain, making Moon the first president of that country to visit the peak.
This last trip occurs amid tensions on the peninsula. North Korea launched a new type of ballistic missile from a submarine earlier this month, its eleventh launch since May. Before the recent launches, North Korea had abstained from missile tests for more than a year.
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On his most recent visit to the top, Kim "recalled with deep emotion the path of the arduous struggle that covered the great cause of building the most powerful country," says the KCNA report.
"Having witnessed his great moments of thought at the top of Mount Paektu, all the accompanying officials were convinced with an overwhelming emotion and joy that there will be a great operation to surprise the world again and take a step forward in the Korean revolution." , added the report.
The mountain is an important piece of propaganda for North Korea, since the Kim dynasty has absorbed its mythology of tradition and family deification.
North Korean society rewards racial purity and state propaganda glorifies the Kim family for their "lineage of Mount Paektu," which is said to be a noble and heroic lineage linked to the ancient legendary kings of the Korean peninsula.
Kim Il Sung, founder of North Korea and grandfather of Kim Jong Un, allegedly used the mountain as a hiding place when fighting the Japanese occupation. State media often refers to the eldest of the Kim in reference to the mountain, using titles such as the "legendary hero of Paektu."
North Korea states that Kim Jong Il, the current father of the current leader, was born there. However, many historians and academics believe that the story was manufactured for propaganda purposes.
Kim Jong Un