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US commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez is banning the export of Segways, iPods, and other luxury goods to North Korea in response to Kim Jong Il 's apparent nuclear test last month.

The action is line with UN Security Council Resolution 1718 imposing sanctions on North Korea. The US is banning exports of luxury goods to the country. Some dual-use items are already banned from export to North Korea.

Gutierrez said: "While North Korea's people starve and suffer, there is simply no excuse for the regime to be splurging on cognac and cigars. 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."

Rolex watches, wine, beer, and Kim's apparent favourite beverage Hennessy cognac are also reportedly on the list.

The North Korean premier is obsessed, we are told by intelligence services, with Western luxuries like wine, cognac, and Hollywood films. He supposedly imports seafood from Japan and sex workers from Sweden.

He also imports Czech lager, Chinese fruit, and wine and cheese from France.

There's more on his expensive tastes in the Korean Times here or the Commerce press release is here. ®

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