April 27 (UPI) — North Korea‘s elite increasingly regard Kim Jong Un‘s leadership as “ineffective,” even as Kim is trying to appease his constituency by moving them to a new high-end residential area in Pyongyang.
U.S. think tank Rand Corp. issued a report Thursday that found Kim Jong Un and the system of dynastic rule are unpopular among Pyongyang’s well-heeled class.
The death of Kim would not lead to a family succession, if elites were given the choice, said senior defense analyst Bruce Bennett, according to CNBC.
“North Korea’s elites have heavily gone into being entrepreneurs,” Bennett said. “Kim Jong Un appears increasingly to the elites as ineffective and not a particularly good leader, which is likely how he’s viewed now.”
The analyst said the findings are being drawn from his interviews and research into defectors.
“Other than North Korea’s weapons and [the] ballistic missiles of this regime, Kim Jong Un doesn’t really have a lot to make him feel empowered,” Bennett said.
The analyst also said South Korea should provide incentives to elites, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, to prepare for eventual unification.
Seoul should particularly focus on North Korea elites’ safety, wealth and social status.
Kim has for years been able to keep elites in line with rewards for fulfilling his objectives, including bringing in foreign currency earnings.
On Thursday, Pyongyang’s state-controlled KCNA reported officials from the Korean Workers’ Party visited North Korean families at their new high-rise residences on Ryomyong Street.
The new construction was celebrated at a ceremony where Kim was in attendance on April 13.
“Those responsible listened to the thoughts and concerns of the new residents and told stories of the devotion and hard work of Kim Jong Un, the best most respected leader,” KCNA stated.
North Korea said “ordinary teachers” as well as scientists had been moved to their state-provided apartments.
“The new residents were so grateful they shed tears of passion,” according to KCNA.