What if the world lifts restrictions on North Korea
North Korea has been and remains one of the world’s most closed-off countries. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. What if the totalitarian dictatorship opens up to the rest of the world and is removed from Western sanction lists? One thing is for sure: many global companies, especially Western ones, are anticipating that moment. North Korea has two types of resources, which the rest of the world wants from them: natural and human.
Underutilized Mineral Reserves
Let’s start with natural resources. It is estimated that the country has around 200 minerals of economic value. To name just a few – North Korea sits on large amounts of coal, iron ore, copper, limestone, zinc, magnesite, and gold. In most cases, the mines are not working at their full capacity to extract the popular minerals. On the one hand, we can say that the current capabilities of the country do not allow them to make full use of those mines; however, on the other hand, this might be beneficial for the country in the future, especially when it lowers the barrier of entry for foreign companies. That said, North Korea already allows a handful of foreign countries to help it cope with the lack of technology in mining and extracting. Those companies are mainly Chinese because of the good mutual relationships between the two countries, but there are also some Japanese ones. For example, the Mitsubishi Mining Company, which operates the Musan Mine in Hamgyeongbuk-do, is helping North Korea extract iron ore.
Now, let’s talk about the other resource that North Korea possesses: the human one. As we already heard, the population is no stranger to hard work. However, due to specific political issues, the nation is restricted from good and non-propagated education. This may create an opportunity for foreign companies to take a dive and try to win over those consumers. We could expect big Western companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft, and Google to be among the first ones to make deals with the North Korean government for a possibility to capture the bigger market share.
Business Over Morality
North Korea has enormous potential, and the whole world sees that. Even though human rights activists do not see it that way, it never stopped global businesses from going after countries with bad reputations. As they say, “Money doesn’t smell,” so that’s the logic that most companies follow. They just reshuffle the cards and try to present themselves as companies working for a good cause.
This allows those companies to freely operate in questionable regions without major backlash from the general public.