October 17th 2019
Mount Paektu was yesterday graced by the return of its favourite bloodline yesterday, as Marshal Kim Jong Un mounted a white steed and galloped about the sacred mountain.
Images of the epic horseback ride were released by KCNA, the North Korean state news agency, via their website. It is unclear if the horse, which appeared to be male, was a stallion or a gelding, words which we’re told make it sound like you know what you’re talking about when it comes to equestrianism.
Paektusan, Korea’s holy mountain
Mount Paektu – alternatively known as Mount Baekdu, Baekdusan or Paektusan – is deeply important to North Korea and, specifically, the Kim family. Official literature states that Kim Jong Il was born on the mountain, and each of the Kims has periodically visited the mountain.
Straddling the border between China and North Korea, Paektusan is known as ‘Changbaishan’ on the Chinese side, and is a frequent destination there for tourists wishing to marvel at its natural beauty. It is not as easily accessible from the Korean side; travel there is generally only possible via chartered flight.
The peak of the mountain is not a peak at all – following a violent volcanic eruption in AD 946 (by the way: Mount Paektu is a volcano), the summit of the mountain is a water-filled caldera known as Heaven Lake (Chonji/Cheonji in Korean and Tianchi in Chinese). The lake has historically been revered by both the Koreans and the Manchus.
The significance of Kim’s visit
Generally, important and/or momentous political decisions are preceded by a visit to the holy mountain, and so it’s suspected that the Marshal might be about to make a huge announcement. About what, exactly? Some are speculating that it might presage a resumption of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
Or it could just be that Kim’s really into his equestrianism.
Visit Paektusan yourself on our one and only tour that goes there!