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North Korea's Kim rides through snow as nuclear deadline looms

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Samjiyon taken in September shows part of the massive construction project opened on Tuesday

U.S. President Donald Trump, well-known for his off-the-cuff remarks, hinted Tuesday at the possibility of military action against North Korea if necessary, despite emphasizing his "good relationship" with leader Kim Jong Un.

The Korean Central News Agency released undated photos showing Kim riding on snow-covered Mount Paektu along with his wife and senior officers, also on white horses.

Kim has warned the United States it has until the end of the year to offer more concessions to restart stalled denuclearisation talks or North Korea will pursue an unspecified "new path".

Because he assumes there will be no immediate lifting or easing of sanctions, Kim has sought to weather them by promoting tourism, analysts said.

Kim explained that his visit is to "instill the revolutionary spirit" to the people when the regime is striving to build a "powerful socialist country" through "self-reliance".

Kim attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Township of Samjiyon County on Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Kim has often visited Mt. Paektu around the time of major developments in North Korea, including missile launches.

North Korea's UN ambassador Kim Song said in a letter to the 14 other council members obtained by The Associated Press that Pyongyang considers any council meeting on its human rights "another serious provocation" resulting from the United States' "hostile policy" and "will respond strongly to the last".

"This is not a standard meeting", he said.

"North Korea's regulation stipulates it hold the plenary meeting at least once in a year", Unification Ministry Spokesperson Lee Sang-min said at Wednesday's regular briefing.

He tends to visit once or twice a year, trips that are sometimes seen as indicators of policy changes. "So I don't think convening the meeting is unusual".

Banners proclaimed: "Long live the great leader of the force of our party and country, comrade Kim Jong Un!" Since the collapse of Trump and Kim's second summit in Vietnam in February, the North has warned that it will seek a "new way" if the USA fails to come up with an acceptable proposal by the year-end. He added: "Now now we have probably the most highly effective navy we've ever had and we're by far probably the most highly effective nation on the earth". "But if we do, we'll use it". In a further blow to any future relations, just one percent of those asked stated that the country was an ally to the USA while 15 percent said they were unsure.

Since then, senior North Korean officials have repeatedly criticized the USA over its position in the talks.

"It is entirely up to the USA what Christmas gift it will select to get", added Ri.

Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been deadlocked since the Hanoi summit broke up in February, and the North has issued a series of increasingly assertive comments in recent weeks as its time limit approaches. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government.

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