In what North Korea called a ‘defiant message, ‘new state media photos show Kim Jong Un riding alone up a sacred mountain astride a white horse. These epic images ran alongside a gushing state media report on Wednesday (October 16) that cited Kim aides saying they’re ‘convinced’ Kim is planning a quote ‘great operation.’ The mountain is Mount Paektu — a symbolic and spiritual location wrapped up in the origins of the Kim dynasty. KCNA said Kim’s ride was “a great event of weighty importance in the history of the Korean revolution.” It’s not clear what the “great operation” might be, but state media often features mountain visits before major decisions. Last year during an historic summit, Kim took South Korea’s president to the top of Paektu. Analysts say his latest ride up the mountain could symbolize Kim standing up to pressure over the North’s nuclear program. Kim has said he’s only giving the United States until years’ end to loosen its stance on the North shedding its nuclear weapons. If not, he says Pyongyang will pursue a new path forward.