This scenario is hard to believe, however taking in account the chaos theory, everything is possible.
Imagine that the United Nations may attack North Korea, but that requires the permission of China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. In case of victory, the North Korean territory will be occupied by United Nations Troops. If North Korea disappeared as a sovereign state, it could be still a country in a geographical sense, divided into various occupation zones. The situation might be similar to the one that happened within the Balkans, where peacekeepers were sent. In the case of North Korea, the United Nations would be going to maintain a presence, with the acceptance of China and South Korea. Chinese may accept such a deal if they could use the North Korean population as source of cheap labor and if the population of North Korea would have a limited access to China (which is the most important here as China is afraid of an inflow of the North Korean population). What’s more, the North Korean population won’t have access to South Korea either, or the access will be strictly limited. It is due to the fact that South Korea cannot already manage its population of defectors, and surveys shows that their economic livehood is poor. Therefore what will be the faith of the North Korean population ?
Park Gab Dong, a former director of the Propaganda Department of the Korean Workers Party, a defector to South Korea, urges to use preemptive attacks against North Korea. Waiting is not a good solution, because it means condemning the next generation of North Koreans to live under the banner of one of the of the world’s most repressive regimes. However North Korea is a sovereign state and this cannot be omitted by foreign countries. We also have a limited knowledge on the real oppression on North Koreans. This oppression is also decreasing during the last years. According to one of my interviews that I conducted with a defector, Bribes are now replacing punishments. In the past, when one man escaped from North Korea, his family was considered as responsible and send to jail. Now things changes: when one person is escaping North Korea, his family has only to give bribes to the administration. Such situation was unimaginable in the 80s.
New North Korean elites should be found out of North Korea, because North Koreans who are living in the country haven’t any kind of political education. The potential new elites are mainly in South Korea and in China. There are also a group of people who created a movement for the democratization of North Korea: The National Salvation Front for the Democratic Reunification of Korea. It is an exile organization constituted of former North Korean government leaders. These people should complete their political education in countries supportive of the idea of new North Korea. All of this should help to a smooth the creation of a new state with the total, or at least partial, acceptance of its neighbors: China, South Korea and Russia. Don’t forget also North Koreans who are living in their country, these people are also to be considered as the next leadership of North Koreans. Interestingly, it may be the case that new North Korean elites may also be found in North Korea at the new Pyongyang University of Science and Technology or educated via the Choson Exchange, an organization which is educating young brilliant North Koreans. This school is to boost the North Korean economic development. It is to be the place where business capacities and foreign languages are to be taught.
Next middle managers ? (the picture was taken by the author during a trip to North Korea)