North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was photographed on Wednesday riding a white horse through historic battlefields in the country and an expert on the region called the photo-op an attempt by the leader to send a clear message: the opportunity for diplomacy is nearing an end.
John Delury, an East Asia scholar at Yonsei University in Seoul, told Reuters that Kim’s ride is a “message to buckle up, it’s going to be a big year for us next year.”
He continued, “And not a year of diplomacy and summitry, but rather of national strength.”
Photos of Kim on the horse were released a day after the country’s foreign ministry issued a thinly veiled threat to the U.S. over its “hostile policies” of denuclearization. The ministry criticized President Trump over his calls for more talks and called the overtures nothing more than a “foolish” trick.
“What is left to be done now is the U.S. option and it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get,” the ministry said.
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Kim was joined by top military officials during his ride near Mount Paektu. Reuters reported that the leader often rides there during major developments. Reports said Kim said the country needs to get ready for its “revolution.”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and the Associated Press contributed to this report