The North merely leveraged their naive Southern brethren to bail out their failed economy and maintain the Kim family regime
, much in the same manner as when they leveraged the naive Americans with the Agreed Framework nuclear deal in 1994.
ABSTRACT: North Korea's hereditary rulers have been under a "death watch" for decades, with many pundits regularly predicting the demise of the "Kim Family Regime." Recent collapse scenarios are predicated on the sudden death of Kim Jong-un, the 32-year-old Supreme Leader, and an ensuing succession struggle ranging from an internal-faction "winner-takes-all" fight to a more chaotic transition where factions clash with assistance from outside powers.
North Korea's hereditary rulers have been under a "death watch" for almost 30 years, with pundits regularly predicting the demise of the Kim Family Regime. At present, Kim Jong-un, the 32-year-old Supreme Leader (so far without an heir apparent) appears to be effectively consolidating his power through a combination of brutal acts, tentative economic reforms, and beneficent giveaways.
(4) On balance, the Kim Family Regime appears to be ruthless in protecting its survival as the most prominent authoritarian dynasty in the world, except for Cuba's single-generation Castro leadership.