Sunday 25 February 2018

Killing of Kim Jong-un's half-brother organised by North Korean government ministries, claims South Korea

Kim Jong Nam was reportedly killed by the nerve agent VX (AP)
Kim Jong Nam was reportedly killed by the nerve agent VX (AP) Newsdesk Newsdesk

The killing of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was organized by the reclusive state's ministry of state security and foreign ministry, according to South Korean lawmakers briefed by the country's intelligence agency.

The eight North Korean suspects include four officials of the state security ministry and two officials of the foreign ministry, the lawmakers quoted the intelligence agency as saying.

South Korean and U.S. officials said Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's estranged half-brother, was killed by North Korean agents in an airport in the Malaysian capital on Feb. 13. North Korea has not acknowledged his death.

Kim Jong-nam died on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport in what Malaysian police say was a well-planned hit by two women who wiped a liquid on his face.

Police revealed on Friday that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Mr Kim, raising the stakes in the case.

Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said the dose was so high that he showed symptoms within minutes.

Mr Kim fainted at the airport clinic and died in an ambulance en route to hospital, he said.

"VX only requires 10 milligrams to be absorbed into the system to be lethal, so I presume that the amount of dose that went in is more than that," he said.

"The doses were so high and it did it so fast and all over the body, so it would have affected his heart, it would have affected his lungs, it would have affected everything."

Asked how long it took Mr Kim to die after he was attacked, Mr Subramaniam said: "I would think it was about, from the time of onset, from the time of application, 15 to 20 minutes."

Malaysia has not directly accused the North Korean government of being behind the attack, but officials have said four North Korean men provided two women with poison to carry it out.

The four men fled Malaysia on the same day as the killing, while the women - one from Indonesia and the other Vietnamese - were arrested.

Experts say the nerve agent used to kill Mr Kim was almost certainly produced in a sophisticated state weapons laboratory and is banned under an international treaty.

But North Korea has never signed the treaty and spent decades developing a complex chemical weapons programme.


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