Mt. Paektu is an active volcano that occupies a revered place in Korean legend as the birthplace of the Korean people. But it may be paying a price for their division.
Located on the border of North Korea and China, the volcano has been appropriated by Pyongyang as the “sacred mountain of the revolution.” Propagandists for the Communist state spin a tale, most likely apocryphal, that the late leader Kim Jong Il was born there while his father was a guerrilla fighting the Japanese.
The sacred mountain, however, is just 60 miles from the site where North Korea, now led by Kim’s son, Kim Jong Un, tested its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon on Sept. 3.