This NY TImes article on North Korea and its environment, Q. and A.: North Korea’s Choked Environment, reminded me of other routes to create bonds and understanding with North Korea — nature and science.
The article describes the current environmental situation there, some history, and how a conference on it went. Since the Korean War North Korea has lost trees, exacerbated by famine, mismanagement, flooding, and so on.
Everybody gains from helping make an environment sustainable. Nearly everybody gains from free exchange of scientific information (people whose power depends on faith and dogma might not see how they do).
Anyway, this article points out the usual problems with how North Korea communicates with the rest of the world — spending resources showing off its leaders instead of solving other problems, denying problems, not letting knowledgeable people communicate, denying problems, etc.
On the other hand, a dialog is starting. They want to feed their people and recognize people outside their country have solved problems they need to solve.
The article also reminds me of the importance of trees. Any culture that ignores its long-term health long enough could find itself in their predicament. The U.S. is cutting down its forests too. Many cultures have collapsed from the same problems.
I’m no expert, but I don’t see the U.S. balancing its need for resources with what it has. We would do well to learn from North Korea’s mistakes too.