North Korea is caught in a severe economic crisis at a time of leadership transition. The regime, preoccupied with its own survival, is unwilling to undertake the necessary economic reform, fearful that change will lead to its downfall. It has sought international assistance to feed its population and has traded its nuclear programme with the US in the hope of becoming part of the international community, but it retains its hostility to South Korea, and therefore to the South's ally, the US. South Korea wants a reduction in tension, but does not want to unify Korea because it cannot afford the cost. Along with North Korea's other neighbours, the South offers assistance that would help the North avoid collapse and could in time bring about change, but Kim Jong II's regime appears incapable of responding to that offer and poses a threat to regional stability. This text explores all the issues inherent in Korea's current situation.