North Korea has released bizarre picture of Kim Jong-un riding a majestic white horse through snowfall.
The unusual scenes of Kim Jong-un on horseback have drawn comparison to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s shirtless horseback glamour shots of years gone by.
In the photos released by North Korea, the leader of the hermetic state is captured beaming, then gazing into the middle-distance as he and his mount gallop up the country’s highest mountain.
The pictures of Mr Kim released by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) capture him riding a horse on Mount Paektu on what the agency claimed as the first snowfall of the year.
In one shot, Mr Kim, clad in a coat and furs, smiles as he poses on the white horse amid the snowfall.
In another, he appears pensive, possibly even concerned, as the horse gallops through a wintry backdrop.
Or, as the tightly-controlled state-run news agency KCNA put it: “He, atop Mt Paektu on the horseback, 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 and days of fast-paced changes and took a bird’s-eye view of mountains that looked like the high steep mountains of the revolution he has to pass in high spirits.”
Calling Mr Kim an “illustrious commander,” the agency wrote that he was gazing “far into the road of advance of a powerful socialist country that will achieve prosperity with its own efforts, meeting all headwinds with the storm of Mt Paektu.”
The leader was accompanied by state officials to the top of the mountain.
According to KCNA, they “felt overflowing emotion and joy and convinced that there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and advance the Korean revolution a step forward.”
The pictures quickly whipped around social media, where observers were quick to draw references to snaps of a shirtless Mr Putin riding a horse in Siberia in 2009.
“Well these pics of Kim Jong-un scaling Paektu on a white horse are … quite something,” managing editor at NK News, Oliver Hotham, tweeted.
One user speculated the leader took “terrified.”
While the rarely-seen Mr Kim is noted for his eccentric public outings, some in the Twittersphere were concerned about how exactly his regime was planning to “strike the world with wonder”.
The pictures come as tensions once again peak over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, as the West continues to regard the secretive regime and its dictator with a wary eye.
Mt Paektu is the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, and North Korea’s regime has long claimed it is the birthplace of Mr Kim’s father and former leader, Kim Jong-il.
According to reports, Mr Kim often visits the significant mountain before making major decisions – such as the 2013 execution of his powerful uncle and his 2018 entry into diplomacy with Washington and Seoul.
Mr Kim has staged a series of high-profile negotiations with US President Donald Trump over the past year.