North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) presides the 7th Workers Party Congress at the April 25 Palace in Pyongyang, on May 9, 2016 (AFP Photo/Antoine Demaison)
CNBC: North Korean elites increasingly think Kim Jong Un is a weak leader, new study says
* Conditions are ripe to prepare for Korean peninsula unification, a Rand study said.
* If Kim Jong Un were to die suddenly, North Korea's elite would probably not choose a successor from Kim's family, said Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at Rand, citing defected senior officials.
* "North Korea's elites have heavily gone into being entrepreneurs," Bennett said.
More and more North Korean elites think dictator Kim Jong Un is a weak leader, according to new research published Thursday from Rand Corp. citing senior officials who have defected.
"Kim Jong Un appears increasingly to the elites as ineffective and not a particularly good leader, which is likely how he's viewed now," said Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at research organization Rand. "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, noting that recent events such as the murder of the dictator's older half brother show how the leader is "clearly paranoid."
Moreover, if Kim were to die suddenly, North Korea's elites would probably not choose a successor from Kim's family, ending their dominance since the state's founding more than half a century ago, Bennett said, based on his interviews with defectors.
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Update: North Korea elites see 'ineffective leader' in Kim Jong Un (UPI)
WNU Editor: I am always skeptical of these reports. No one in North Korea is going to give their opinion to a foreign think tank on what is happening within their country .... especially from those who are at the top and who have a lot to lose if they are exposed.