The economy of North Korea tends to lag behind that of South Korea; due to international sanctions, the country carries out the overwhelming majority of its trade with China. In the recent past, North Korea's defense budget has accounted for nearly one sixth of governments spending, which speaks to the martial nature of this country. Unwilling to contribute to such a regime, few nations offer North Korea humanitarian aid. In fact, many nations even refuse basic diplomatic relations with North Korea.
But this refusal is not only due to the country's emphasizing military strength: Humanitarian and development aid, as well as an improved infrastructure are badly needed in North Korea. For a country that conducted 24 ballistic missile tests in 2016, it has a persistent shortage of food. Paved roads are essentially nonexistent outside the capital of Pyongyang. Unsurprisingly, lackluster economic growth, political isolation, and the government’s prioritization of martial issues over social support have taken a toll on the North Korean population. However, exact figures to determine the state of healthcare and standard of living in the country are impossible to come by.
Nearly two thirds of South Koreans see the two Koreas as the same ethnic group. This feeds into the lingering issue of reunification, which the majority of South Koreans continue to favor, as mentioned above. Many Korean families are also separated by the border, which remains impassable because the countries never signed a peace agreement to officially end the Korean War. For these and other reasons, South Koreans will continue to pursue better relations with North Korea. However, given the belligerent nature of the current North Korean regime, few expect this to happen immediately, and the opinions of the North Koreans themselves on this matter are not officially known.