Frankv: I think Germany is a good example. East/West Germany only reunited after the collapse of the Communist bloc, despite it being the hope of ordinary people since 1945.
It is not a good example at all. East Germany was very much a client state of the Soviet Union. North Korea on the other hand had an independent outlook long prior to the dissolution of the Soviet bloc and easily survived it. Like it or not, the ideology of Juche (approximately 'self reliance') is not just wallpaper.