Kim Jong-il is to have his access to iPods and other desirable gadgets cut off as part of US efforts to target sanctions directly at the North Korean leader and his power base.
Aside from his own personal use, Kim is said to use gifts of Western consumer goods to reward loyal government officials.
So, the apparent US logic goes, restricting his access to such goods will help to erode his power base.
Aside from iPods, a list of items targeted by the US and obtained by the Associated Press, includes Rolex watches, cognac, luxury cars and plasma-screen televisions.
Other items on the list are cigarettes, works of art, Harley Davidson motorbikes and even jet skis.
||What would Kim Jong-il have on his iPod? |
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The list of sanctions specifically aimed at the Kim Jong-il government is part of the US response to North Korea's nuclear weapon test on October 9.
After the test, the United Nations voted to impose a range of sanctions on trade with the North, including a ban on the sale of luxury goods.
However, the UN vote left it up to individual countries to define what specifically came under the luxury banner.
|Kim is thought to hand out luxury gifts to |
loyal officials [Picture: GALLO/GETTY]
All of the goods on the US list are items said to be favoured by Kim and his senior officials, but are well beyond the reach of most North Koreans, many of whom go short of food every day.
However, officials acknowledge that because of the widespread black market trade in luxury goods, enforcing an international ban on their export to North Korea will be next to impossible.
"If you take away one of the tools of his control, perhaps you weaken the cohesion of his leadership,'' Robert J Einhorn, a former senior state department official who visited North Korea in 1999, told the Associated Press.
"It can't hurt, but whether it works, we don't know.''