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Following in father's footsteps, Kim Jong Un takes mountain walk to inspire troops

KCNA-KNS via AFP - Getty Images

This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 2, 2013 and released on June 4 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting watch posts defending Mt. Osung and Korean People's Army (KPA) unit 507 in the Kangwon province of North Korea.

KCNA via Reuters

Kim Jong Un stands on Mount Osung next to a sign that reads: "Our beloved Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il pushed a car up to this very place on August 3, 1998."

The youngest son of Kim Jong Il succeeded his late father in 2011, becoming the third member of his family to rule the unpredictable and reclusive communist state.

Kim Jong Un has a tough act to follow. Everywhere he goes he is reminded of his father and grandfather, the two men who preceded him as leader of North Korea.

As he led a cadre of military officers up Mount Osung on Sunday, Kim was confronted again with the legend of his father's achievements. On a hillside clearing the young man paused in front of a sign: "Our beloved Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il pushed a car up to this very place on August 3, 1998."

The images distributed by North Korea's official news agency on Tuesday did not show Kim Jong Un attempting a similar feat. Instead, he was seen strolling gently but purposefully along a grass-lined path leading to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, the welcome he received from a group of soldiers stationed on the hill could scarcely have been warmer.

Previously on PhotoBlog: Kim Jong Un and his (not very) merry note-takers inspect fishery, ski slope

KCNA - KNS via AFP - Getty Images

Kim Jong Un is greeted by soldiers as he inspects watch posts defending Mt. Osung.

KCNA - KNS via AFP - Getty Images

Kim Jong Un inspects watch posts defending Mt. Osung.

KCNA - KNS via AFP - Getty Images

Kim Jong Un meets soldiers in a watch post defending Mt. Osung.

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As chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, David Guttenfelder has had unprecedented access to communist North Korea. Here's a rare look at daily life in the secretive country.