North Korea is rooted in the centuries of isolationist ‘hermit kingdom’, to the shock of decades of brutal Japanese occupation, of suddenly being the center of the first and perhaps most brutal war of the cold war. And then retreating back into an extremist and again brutal version of the hermit kingdom. Juche. The North Koreans have never known anything but this sort of brutal government. An absolute and total subjugation to the heavenly appointed leader, a submission to the death. The fall of that regime will be the fall of everything those people have ever believed in. Like children of abusive parents they will feel secure only in that abusive relationship.
I can’t fathom that this north korea can unify with the almost post individualist south of e.g. PSY (Gangnam Style), the increasing effeminacy of its human ideal image and the overwhelming dominance of the chaebol and their sprawling global empires and pervasive marketing. Compared to that the cultural distance between East and West Germany was miniscule.
North Korea is like the cripple child of a semi nomadic tribe, hidden somewhere in the dark amongst the animals, an embarassment to the family afraid to come out. If anything China and South Korea together can slowly and carefully bring it out into the world. It will take generations for the country to adjust to what the world around it has become.
But it may just as well continue like this indefinitely, secure in its nuclear deterrance, a freak of history forever.