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North Korean citizens increasingly skeptical of Kim family, escapees say

Defectors from North Korea are reporting negative feelings toward the ruling Kim family at a higher rate than a decade ago, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

North Korean citizens are becoming increasingly skeptical of their political leadership, according to a report on the experiences of escapees.

The Unification Ministry of South Korea, a government organ focused on relations with the country's northern neighbor, released a report Tuesday documenting social trends regarding North Korean leadership.

Interviews with North Korean defectors to South Korea have suggested decreasing confidence in Supreme leader Kim Jong Un and his family since the beginning of the last decade.

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Between 2011 and 2015, approximately 42.6% of escapees said they had a negative opinion of the Kim family. From 2016 to 2020, that number increased to approximately 55%, the report claims.

"Negative public sentiments toward the 'Paektu bloodline'-based leadership system have been increasing, and this perception appears to be gaining traction since Kim Jong-un assumed power (in late 2011)," the report reads, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The "Paektu bloodline" refers to the Kim family, whose heritage has been mythologically rewritten to associate them with the country's sacred Mount Paektu.

KIM JONG UN ADMITS LACK OF 'BASIC LIVING NECESSITIES' IS 'SERIOUS POLITICAL ISSUE' IN NORTH KOREA

North Korea's failing economy has caused cascading hardships across the country, resulting in widespread hunger, poor medical care and a lack of basic amenities for quality of life.

"The influence of markets has been expanding to healthcare, education, transportation and information infrastructure from the necessities of life, such as food, clothing and shelter, as well as energy, water and sewage," the South Korean report claims.

Kim Jong Un made a rare acknowledgment of the poor living conditions in his country at a government meeting last month.

The dictator said in a Thursday speech to the Workers' Party of Korea that the disparity in quality of life between the countryside and cities must be addressed.

"Today, failure to satisfactorily provide the people in local areas with basic living necessities including condiments, foodstuff and consumption goods has arisen as a serious political issue that our Party and government can never sidestep," the dictator said to the assembly, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Kim urged any government official who sat idly by while the quality of life deteriorated to "admit without saying a word or an excuse" that they were incapable of carrying out the Workers' Party of Korea agenda.

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