Rodman, Coca-Cola share spotlight in N. Korea

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The can of Coke appears in lower right corner. (Associated Press)

The can of Coke appears in lower right corner. (Associated Press)

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?

9 comments Add your comment


March 1st, 2013
2:39 pm

Harry Kuheim

March 1st, 2013
3:09 pm

Coke, Jeans, and American Rock and Roll can transform any back water place like PRNK.

Tap Out

March 1st, 2013
3:56 pm

An ice cold Coca-Cola cannot be stopped or denied….it is simply the best!!

The Real Thing

March 1st, 2013
4:10 pm

North Korea, like everything else, goes better with Coke.

Don Abernethy

March 1st, 2013
4:13 pm

Bye Coke it was nice knowing you.


March 1st, 2013
4:30 pm

It’s NORTH Korea, so shouldn’t they be drinking Pepsi?


March 1st, 2013
6:11 pm

At what point will Congress see the potential from visits like the ones Rodman, Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt, etc. have made to the DPRK recently? The Hermit Kingdom teaches their people to hate the Western governments that shut them out, but worships Americans that are willing to acknowledge Pyongyang. Maybe a little Coke is just what the doctor ordered to bring down that wall.


March 1st, 2013
7:38 pm

Truth sometimes is STRANGER than Fiction!


March 2nd, 2013
8:46 am

So Rodman likes Kim, is anyone surprised by that ? We would all have been better off had Rodman decided to stay in N. Korea. Really, that is just what the world needs — a guy who is into body puncture and wedding gowns establishing diplomatic relations for the US with a dictator who cuts his own hair. Did John Boehner have anything to do with this?