(Original post by Tudball)
You're discussing a change in attitude from the outside
with respect to North Korea, and then delegating how the North Korean attitude would necessarily change from the inside
. It's not prudent to do so.
And the North Koreans have built skyscrapers, too. P'yongyang is full of them - in fact, for a period, North Korea produced large buildings at a rate unsurpassed by most developing nations. But that does not diminish the importance of the military.
"A-List" nations have skyscrapers, factories and motorways - of course. North Korea has produced such things, too (although impractical, given its current situation). But "A-List" nations consistently have strong and well-equipped armies. It's not something that North Korea will surrender or be prepared to relinquish in exchange for foreign nations simply being "nicer".
As for my theories, this is in response to someone on another forum. It's a very, very rough outline:
North Korea will take what it can get, and give as little as possible. It doesn't see the benefits being offered by the international community as outweighing the concessions being demanded. Softening the stance on North Korea has been done before, with little success. North Korea knows that the international community flip-flops between a tough, no-nonsense stance and a more diplomatic position. It responds to the former with belligerence, and the latter by taking all that's offered and relinquishing the bare minimum - then reverting back to its old position either when the well is dry, or the international community gets fed up.
I believe that North Korea needs to be eased back into the international community, and I think the focus should be investment and trade. North Korea is cash-strapped and entirely reliant on foreign aid. If this system were exchanged for an equal and mutual exchange of goods and products, with a focus on foreign direct investment, North Korea would be able to fund the revivification of its industries, and there would exist a long-term and beneficial link between the international community and the regime. It would not be a link based on friendship or mutual agreement - it doesn't need to be. It would simply be something that North Korea would not want to abandon or ruin - a permanent source of much-needed revenue. Making North Korea dependent doesn't work, and pushing it into a corner doesn't work, either. It needs to be on equal terms, without political motives. This shouldn't accompany demands that North Korea shut down its nuclear programme, or other such concessions.
Easing North Korea out of its alienation and back into the international community will relieve its paranoia and volatility - and I think more cooperation on its belligerence and militarisation should follow as a natural consequence.