Responding to North Korea's nuclear test Oct. 9, the U.S. announced its intention to ban the sale of iPods and fatty tuna to that country's eccentric leader. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph are scheduled to travel to the Apple Store and Super Strike Fishing Charters next week, White House officials said today, to lay the groundwork for the new sanctions.
"If you take away Kim Jong-il's access to meat from the belly of the bluefin tuna and the world's best-selling digital audio player and accessories, perhaps North Korea would freeze its existing nuclear program and agree to enhanced International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards," said Robert J. Einhorn, a former senior State Department official who visited North Korea. "It can't hurt, but whether it works, we don't know."
The Washington-based Personal Music Player and Sushi Industry Association said it supports the U.S. sanctions: "The thousands of Americans and Canadians who build, ship and sell iPods and catch tuna are patriots first," said Cap'n Healey, head of the trade group. He endorsed the ban "because of the the genuine dangers that our government is trying to stave off."
Prior to the establishment of the sanctions, intelligence sources believe that North Korea could have purchased an iPod online for Kim Jong-il's own personal use, and sliced raw fatty tuna served on a small portion of sweet vinegar rice for state dinners and late night snacks.