The Bush administration wants North Korea's attention, so like a scolding parent, it's trying to make it tougher for that country's eccentric leader to buy iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters.
The list of proposed luxury sanctions, obtained by The Associated Press, aims to make Kim's swanky life harder: No more cognac, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles or even personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.
The new ban would extend even to music and sports equipment. The 5-foot-3 Kim is an enthusiastic basketball fan; then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright presented him with a ball signed by Michael Jordan during a rare diplomatic trip in 2000.
The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run his communist nation.
Experts said the effort, being coordinated under the United Nations, would be the first ever to curtail a specific category of goods not associated with military buildups or weapons designs. U.S. officials acknowledge that enforcing the ban on black-market trading would be difficult.
Much of the U.S. information about Kim's preferences comes from defectors, including Kenji Fujimoto, the Japanese chef who fled in 2001 and wrote a book about his time with the North Korean leader.