North Korea gets Doritos, Hershey's Kisses

No wonder tensions are easing.
Written by Mark Halper, Contributor on
A taste of freedom. North Koreans don't have a feast of liberties, but they can now snack on Doritos in the capital city of Pyongyang.

April, 2012 - New North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un addresses the masses:

"It is the party's steadfast determination to ensure that the people will never have to tighten their belt again, and make sure they enjoy the riches and affluence of socialism to their heart's content," he declared, as reported then by TIME Magazine.

May, 2013 - Man has he delivered. People in the capital city of Pyongyang can now buy Doritos, Hershey Kisses and Coca-Cola, wire service the Associated Press reports via the Washington Post.

If preservative-filled corn chips, sour chocolate or syrupy soft drinks aren't the people's thing, they needn't worry. With the rebuilding of Pyongyang into a shiny city, there's plenty more from which to chose. AP writes:

"Inside supermarkets where shopgirls wear faux French designer labels, people with money can buy Italian wine, Swiss chocolates, kiwifruit imported from New Zealand and fresh-baked croissants. They can get facials, lie in tanning booths, play a round of mini golf or sip cappuccinos."

That may be true in Pyongyang, but given what's not happening in the rest of the country, the capital is looking like a giant Potemkin village. As AP notes:

"The gap between the haves and have-nots so far has only grown with Pyongyang’s transformation. Beyond the paved main streets of the capital, life remains grindingly tough. Food is rationed, electricity is a precious commodity and people get around by walking, cycling or hopping into the backs of trucks. Most homes lack running water or plumbing. Health care is free, but aid workers say medicine is in short supply."

At least their boy dictator is backing off his menacing missile play for the time being, according to Reuters. Maybe the Doritos chilled him out.

Or did Dennis Rodman whisper something in his ear?

Image from Like the Grand Canyon via Wikimedia

More modern anthropology and the like from Asia:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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