North Korea's state TV airs video of Kim riding horse at Mount Paektu

Mount Paektu, a volcano straddling North Korea's border with China, is sacred to many Koreans, both in the north and south, who revere it as the mythical birthplace of a unified and independent peninsula.

North Korea says Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, was born at Mount Paektu, though historians believe his actual birthplace was in Russia.

Nevertheless, visits to the mountain have previously heralded major policy decisions in North Korea.

Kim has recently said the world would soon see his country's "new strategic weapon" and that there was no longer reason for Pyongyang to be bound by a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

Last month, Pyongyang warned Washington of a possible "Christmas gift" after Kim gave the United States until the end of the year to propose new concessions in talks over his country's nuclear arsenal.