SEOUL      -       North Korea released a series of photos Wednesday showing leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse to a sacred mountain he has often climbed before making key decisions. Near the mountain, Kim reportedly vowed to overcome U.S.-led sanctions that he said had both pained and infuriated his people. The images and Kim’s rhetoric appeared aimed at bolstering his leadership at home as the North tries to pressure the United States into making concessions in nuclear diplomacy. The photos showed a bespectacled Kim wearing a long, light-brown coat and riding on horseback up snow-covered Mount Paektu. The mountain, the highest point on the Korean Peninsula, is sacred to North Koreans, and both it and the white horse are symbols associated with the Kim family’s dynastic rule. Kim previously visited Mount Paektu before executing his powerful uncle in 2013 and entering into diplomacy with South Korea and the U.S. in 2018. South Korean media quickly speculated that Kim may be considering a new strategy in his dealings with the U.S. because he’s previously demanded that Washington come up with new proposals to salvage the stalemated diplomacy by the end of December. “He, sitting on the horseback atop Mt Paektu, 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,” KCNA said.