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N. Korean leader visits Mt. Baekdu, Samjiyon area ahead of year-end deadline in nuclear talks Updated: 2019-12-03 16:40:24 KST

North Korea has finished constructing a new town in Samjiyon County and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, attended by the regime's leader Kim Jong-un and several of his key aides.
The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday that the new town in Samjiyon County has transformed into "the epitome of a socialist modern city."

"The construction of the new town in Samjiyon County shows off the party and the people's irresistible force and potential for independent development. It proves the capability of our "self-reliance." Nothing is impossible when we join forces and unite as one."

Completing the new town was the second out of three stages in developing the whole of Samjiyon County, which Pyeongyang aims to complete next year.
Kim Jong-un has paid special attention to this area in particular.
His visit on Monday is the third so far this year and in terms of economic development, the county is the place he has visited the most since he took power in 2012.
The county is also home to Mount Baekdu the mountain he visits whenever he has to mull over grand policy changes.
And that's why his latest visit not only shows his will for so-called "self-reliant" economic development but may also signal that the regime is preparing to walk a "new path" if its talks with the U.S. fail.

"Kim's visit to the county is getting attention because it comes as the year-end deadline North Korea has set on nuclear negotiations with the U.S. is drawing near. The South Korean government says it sees Kim's visit to the area as just a move to attend the construction ceremony, but adds it's still keeping close watch as we're getting into the final month of 2019."

Later on Tuesday, the North's state media carried a statement from Pyeongyang's foreign ministry.
The statement reminded the U.S. of the year-end deadline and said "what the U.S. chooses for a Christmas present is utterly up to U.S. determination."
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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