N. Korea's paper highlights pilgrimage to Mt. Paekdu, urges fight against challenges
SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper said Monday that a number of people have braved harsh winter weather to make a pilgrimage to the country's sacred Mount Paekdu in recent months, calling for upholding such a spirit to tackle "unprecedented" challenges facing the country.
The mountain is known to be the birthplace of leader Kim Jong-un's late father and former leader Kim Jong-il. The mountain is also regarded as a sacred place where his late grandfather and state founder Kim Il-sung staged an anti-Japanese fight during the 1910-45 colonial rule.
In a front-page editorial, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, said that around 50,000 people visited Mount Paekdu between December and February. Their pilgrimage was aimed at "tackling unprecedented hardship and challenges" with revolutionary spirit, it said.
"What is necessary the most under the current grave period is the unwavering revolutionary spirit of our patriotic martyrs who fight against Japan and unrivaled courage and boldness," the paper said. "The biting wind at Mount Paekdu is warm wind that brings miracle and victory to revolutionists."
The paper did not specify challenges the country is currently faced with, but it appears to point to crippling sanctions that remain in place amid stalemated denuclearization talks with Washington and also its ongoing efforts to stem the outbreak of the new coronavirus on its soil.
In December, leader Kim rode a horse to Mount Paekdu and "revolutionary battle sites," calling for a fight against "imperialists" and "class enemies."
It was the second visit of its kind since his first in October, when he slammed the United States for maintaining sanctions against Pyongyang and called for self-reliance against such hostile acts.
Kim told a party meeting late in December that he does not feel bound anymore by his self-imposed moratorium on testing long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, apparently voicing frustration over little progress in denuclearization talks.
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