Advertisement

Kim Jong Un's power is growing, North Korea defectors say

By Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un's power is growing, North Korea defectors say
Kim Jong Un is becoming more powerful although most defectors in the South say his job performance is lagging, according to a recent survey. Photo by Yonhap News Agency/UPI

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- More North Korean defectors in the South think Kim Jong Un is strengthening his grip on power and more than a quarter of those surveyed think Kim's rule will continue for at least 30 years.

According to the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, a recent survey of 132 North Koreans resettled in the South indicates more defectors are less confident the Kim regime is weakening, South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Wednesday.

Advertisement

The survey, taken from June to August, shows 28.2 percent of defectors think Kim will remain in power for "at least 30 years," up from 16.7 percent in 2016, when the survey was last conducted.

The latest evaluation of Kim's rule, however, does not mean defectors believe the North Korean leader is doing the right things.

RELATED South Korea F-15Ks hold exercise against North Korea's leadership

Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they think Kim is doing his job poorly, an indication the North Korean ruler has been able to consolidate his position without necessarily gaining the approval of the people.

Many defectors keep abreast of private sentiment in their country of origin through communication with relatives in the North.

Advertisement

But Suh Bo-hyuk, the South Korean researcher who oversaw the survey, said Kim had proved himself by growing the economy despite his pursuit of nuclear weapons.

RELATED Russia suspends joint projects with North Korea

The survey also shows more defectors are less confident about prospects for unification.

More than half of the respondents, or 55.7 percent, said they "believed unification to be impossible" when they lived in the North.

Only 26 percent said they think unification is possible "within 10 years," significantly down from 45 percent in 2016, according to the research.

RELATED Iran rejects U.S. demands for inspectors' access to nuclear sites

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement