Concern over his ability to exercise control over the North Korean regime may have been the reason behind Kim Jong-un's decision to cancel his planned trip to Russia this weekend.
This is the view of Van Jackson, a North Korea expert at the Center for a New American Security.
He made the remarks during a discussion held at Johns Hopkins University in Washington on Tuesday.
Jackson said he never expected Kim to actually make the trip to Moscow as the young leader feels insecure of his position.
He said that, if Kim was entirely comfortable with his grip on power, he wouldn't have executed senior officials and he would feel able to leave North Korea to attend events in other countries.
Russia had repeatedly said Kim had confirmed his attendance to the May ninth event which will mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two.
It was only last week that a spokesperson for the Kremlin said Kim had decided to stay in Pyongyang because of "internal affairs".
The U.S. expert also expressed concern over North Korea's massive stockpile of ballistic missiles, saying South Korea's current missile defense systems are not strong enough to cope with the threat.
Jackson said deploying the U.S. missile defense system Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, otherwise known as THAAD, would go a long way to nullify the threat posed by Pyongyang's ballistic missiles.
China has raised strong objections to the possible deployment of THAAD to the Korean peninsula, saying it could also be used to monitor mainland China.
Jackson rejected Beijing's concerns saying THAAD's radar could only detect missiles coming into the Korean peninsula.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.