North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been riding a white horse up Mount Paektu, a sacred mountain depicted on the country's national emblem. North Korea also claims Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jung Il, was born on the mountain.

Pictures of Kim Jong Un riding a white horse through a winter landscape have fuelled speculation that the young leader may be set for a major policy announcement Pictures of Kim Jong Un riding a white horse through a winter landscape have fuelled speculation that the young leader may be set for a major policy announcement Photo: KCNA VIA KNS / STR

"He, sitting on the horseback atop Mount 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 Mount Paektu," North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency said of Kim's journey.

The mountain is the highest point on the Korean Peninsula. The white horse is also an important symbol, as Kim Jong Un's grandfather, Kim Jung Sung, supposedly rode a white house while fighting Japanese colonialism. 

Russian president Vladimir Putin is another leader who has riden horses, to project an image of strength. 

putin horse The then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is pictured with a horse during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia, Aug. 3, 2009. Photo: Getty Images

Kim could be preparing to make a big political announcement as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington are at a standstill. Kim reportedly went to construction sites where he complained of western sanctions on his country due to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

"The situation of the country is difficult owing to the ceaseless sanctions and pressure by the hostile forces inflicted upon the Korean people," Kim said, adding that the country will continue to progress despite the sanctions. 

The North Koreans met U.S. representatives in Sweden earlier this month to discuss the sanctions, but the talks fell through on the first day. Chief North Korean negotiatior Kim Myong Gil said the U.S. would not "give up their old viewpoint and attitude." 

President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have had an unusually friendly relationship, with the two sharing friendly letters and Trump even meeting Kim on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone that seperates North and South Korea. The two leaders have met in Singapore and Vietnam to discuss the country's nuclear program and sanctions relief, but no concrete agreement has come out of the discussions.  

Trump started out his term on unfriendly terms with Kim, calling him "rocket man" at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017. In return, Kim called Trump "mentally deranged." 

The official KCNA news agency described Kim Jong Un's horseback mountain ride as 'a great event of weighty importance' for the nation The official KCNA news agency described Kim Jong Un's horseback mountain ride as 'a great event of weighty importance' for the nation Photo: KCNA VIA KNS / STR