Coca-Cola in North Korea? It's (usually not) the Real Thing

A can of Air Koryo cola, produced by Air Koryo, North Korea's flagship airline, is seen in Pyongyang. (AP photo)

PYONGYANG: Coca-Cola is possibly the world's most recognisable brand, an almost inescapable symbol of the global appeal of American-style consumer culture. There are only two countries in the world where Coke doesn't officially operate, and one of them is North Korea.

But even the North is developing quite a taste for cola -- though the iconic red-and-white labelled bottles the cola comes in likely are not exactly the Real Thing and their twist tops need a bit more than the usual caution. They have a tendency to leak or refuse to come off at all.

"North Korea and Cuba are the only countries where Coca-Cola Co has no operations,'' said communications director Ann Moore. "Coke doesn't do business with either because of sanctions.''

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