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ON POINT - Is N. Korean elite concerned about domestic instability? Updated: 2021-10-12 04:56:19 KST

Now it's our new corner, On Point, where we speak to various experts in their field to dig deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
In his speech to mark the 76th founding anniversary of the regime’s ruling Workers' Party, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un placed heavy emphasis on his five-year plan - namely on the need to improve the living conditions of the North Korean people.
He demanded his officials solve the people's chronic food and housing problems.
For more on this and other North Korea-related analysis, we connect to Mark Barry, a long-time North Korea expert and the Associate Editor of the International Journal of World Peace.

Thanks for coming on. Some experts are viewing Kim’s remarks as an attempt to shore up internal unity as the North’s economic woes become increasingly more dire - and that’s not to mention the negative effects of the pandemic and numerous natural disasters. That’s their take, but how do you interpret Kim’s remarks?

Speeches full of nationalistic sentiment and “we are all in this together” are nothing new when it comes North Korea, but is there anything to suggest Kim and the regime’s elite are genuinely worried that things could get so bad that there could be either an internal challenge to his power or even a popular uprising?

The North has been softening its tone toward the South in recent weeks. But we also need to keep in mind, President Moon Jae-in's term ends in five months. How might the North's attitude shift toward Seoul should the more conservative People Power Party take over the levers of power in South Korea in March 2022?

Finally, President Biden has been in the White House for just over nine months now. Despite his administration’s efforts, the North has repeatedly rebuffed U.S. calls for talks. How do you assess the Biden administration’s diplomatic outreach toward North Korea to this point?

That’s all the time we have, unfortunately. Thanks for your insights and let’s see how the situation unfolds in the coming months.
That was Mark Barry, Associate Editor of the International Journal of World Peace, sharing his expert analysis on North Korea. Thank you.
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