New horse ride signals more confrontational stance from North Korean leader

Kim Jong Un mounted a white horse, again, as North Korea announced on Wednesday (December 4) it will soon convene a rare meeting of the ruling party's leaders.

It's a step analysts say may signal preparations for a more confrontational stance with the international community.

State news agency KCNA reported that Kim was accompanied by senior military officers, aimed at instilling a "revolutionary spirit" in the people.

It was the second time in two months that he has visited North Korea's sacred Mt Paektu on horseback - something he often does around the time of major developments in North Korea.

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."

Analysts believe that may include a resumption of intercontinental ballistic missile launches or nuclear tests.

The United States has called for North Korea to give up significant portions of its nuclear arsenal before punishing international sanctions are eased, while Pyongyang has accused the United States of "gangster-like" demands for unilateral disarmament.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun has previously downplayed the year-end deadline...calling it "artificial" and warning that it would be a "huge mistake and a missed opportunity" for North Korea to take any provocative steps.

But analysts say Kim's meeting with top leaders sometime in late December - and before the year-end deadline - underscores how serious North Korea is about making a major decision.