North Korean officials fear an emboldened Kim after summit with Trump


North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump. Image: Yonhap News Agency

Korean Workers’ Party cadres in North Korea have been expressing concerns in the run-up to the US-North Korea summit, according to sources inside the country.

“There are many among the central party cadres who feel differently from the leadership about the US-North Korea summit. If the American imperialist government supports Kim Jong Un, his leadership will become even more bold and powerful,” a source from Pyongyang told Daily NK.

According to the source, North Korea’s cadres are participating in a “show” of support for Kim Jong Un for his meeting with Donald Trump. However, owing to the fact that President Trump has mentioned the possibility of security assurances for the regime in exchange for denuclearization, some cadres are concerned that Kim Jong Un will have the freedom to ramp up the domestic use of fear politics used by the regime to maintain internal control.

“It will be a new world,” one cadre told the source.

“There will be even more danger of being bound and tossed aside than before. Why is the American President pursuing this summit?” 

Kim Jong Un has to date suppressed the country’s cadres through a system of fear politics involving executions, party expulsion, and organizational expulsion. Cadres now worry that the regime’s powers could be further consolidated.     

The fears have been heightened by the fact that the authorities have been issuing political refinement instructions to the cadres ever since the Trump-Kim summit was announced.

A separate source in Pyongyang said that in the lead-up to the US-North Korea summit cadre-focused meetings have become more frequent, and “those conducting the meetings created a tense atmosphere as they pushed for ideological soundness by ‘overcoming enemies to achieve victory,'” he said.

“This has caused more and more cadres to feel uneasy.”

“Cadres are sitting down with close friends and talking about how they think the US-North Korea summit will go. Cadres are the most restless in society, and so they hope that the authorities will protect them in the upcoming meeting with the US,” a source from Ryanggang Province said.

“These people want North Korea to resist major reforms and to be in a place where they are able to comfortably earn money.”

Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to