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It’s not supposed to be there, but there it is: a can of Coca-Cola, sharing the spotlight this week with former NBA star Dennis Rodman and his North Korean host, new leader Kim Jong Un.
Coca-Cola, along with all other U.S. products, is banned from sale in the Communist country due to longstanding U.S. trade sanctions. That, however, hasn’t stopped Coke from showing up in restaurants and other locations, like the stands near a basketball court in Pyongyang, where Rodman and Kim took in a Harlem Globetrotters game.
“Coca-Cola does not currently do business in North Korea,” spokesman Kent Landers told ABC News on Friday. “Any products sold in the market have been purchased by third parties not authorized by The Coca-Cola Company and imported into the country from other markets where they are sold.”
While it’s not officially available in North Korea, Coca-Cola is plentiful in neighboring South Korea and in China, which shares a northeastern border with North Korea.
The South Korean government complains that its northern neighbor regularly gets around international sanctions by importing everything it wants - from American cigarettes to Big Macs – via China.
By the way, in the basketball stands photo from the North Korean capital, Kim appears to have a serving of tea in front of him. Could it be Coca-Cola’s Fuze green tea in disguise?