The United States government is reportedly planning to include iPods, Segway scooters and plasma TVs in the list of products that it will not allow to be exported to North Korea.
This is the first time sanctions have been planned that do not harm a country’s ability to enter an armed conflict, but are designed to irritate the elite who run the nation. Analysts think that along with Kim Jong II, around 600 families control the country and live in relative luxury with all the latest Western appliances.
"It's a new concept; it's kind of creative," William Reinsch, a former senior Commerce Department official who oversaw trade restrictions with North Korea during Bill Clinton's presidency, told Associated Press.
"The problem is that there has always been and will always be this group of people who work at getting these goods illegally," Reinsch said.
Small electronics, such as iPods or laptops, are "untraceable and available all over the place".
Also included in the planned sanctions are Cognac, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles and even personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.
"While North Korea's people starve and suffer, there is simply no excuse for the regime to be splurging on cognac and cigars," Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said in a statement yesterday.
"We will ban the export of these and other luxury goods that are purchased for no other reason than to benefit North Korea's governing elite."
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