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A North Korean state media photo of leader Kim Jong-un atop a white horse in the snow in North Korea. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rode a white horse to Mt. Paektu and lashed out at sanctions imposed on the country, the state-run KCNA news agency reported Wednesday — hailing the action as "a great event of weighty importance."

The big picture: The images at the sacred, active volcano and accompanying proclamation that "there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and make a step forward in the Korean revolution" comes days after denuclearization talks between North Korea and the U.S. broke down.

  • AP notes that North Korea has been hit by "11 rounds of sanctions since 2006" and that the second summit with President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, collapsed without a deal because the U.S. would not ease the harshest penalties.
No matter what persistent efforts the enemy makes, we can live well with our own efforts and pave the avenue to development and prosperity in our own way."
— Kim's statement, per KCNA

What they're saying: Per KCNA, Kim said the "situation of the country is difficult owing to the ceaseless sanctions and pressure by the hostile forces" but "our people grew stronger through the trials." He said the "pain the U.S.-led ... hostile forces inflicted upon the Korean people" had "turned into their anger."

Between the lines: About Kim going to Mt. Paektu, the BBC reports analysts saying "such gestures have been known to precede major announcements."

  • Joshua Pollack, a North Korea expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, told Reuters Kim was making a statement that's "symbolic of defiance."
  • "The pursuit of sanctions relief is over," Pollack told the news agency. "[I]t starts to set new expectations about the coming course of policy for 2020."

Go deeper: North Korea says U.S. "hell-bent on hostile acts" despite Trump-Kim talks

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Technology

TikTok drives new nostalgia economy

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Older brands, trends and technologies are making a comeback as younger consumers desperately chase slower, less chaotic times.

The big picture: TikTok's algorithm makes it easy for flashback items to resurface and quickly go viral both on its platform and eventually on other social networks.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

8 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

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