Female Assassins Kill Kim Jong Nam, Half Brother of DPRK Dictator Kim Jong Eun
Police confirm half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was killed Tuesday in Malaysia
February 16, 2017
Update, 2/15: Malaysian police have arrested the taxi driver who drove away from the airport with the 2 female assassins of Kim Jong Nam, says a local news website in Kuala Lumpur. The two women told the taxi driver that they were Vietnamese. It is unclear whether the taxi driver will be charged with a crime.
Kim Jong Eun assassinated his own uncle, and now apparently his own half brother. The two men may never have actually met, but a half brother represented a threat to the throne. So Kim Jong Eun dealt with the threat in his trademarked way.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un exiled half brother was assassinated in Malaysia's capitol. Two women sprayed him with a cynaide/arsenic mixture as he waited for a plane. Police released a photo of the 2 women, taken from surveillance cameras.
En route to the hospital, the dying 46 year old told emergency responders that he had been attacked with a chemical spray.
"It's another sign that Kim Jong Un is asserting his control over the regime - rather than the regime descending into chaos," said Anwita Basu, lead analyst for North Korea at the Economist Intelligence Unit, in London. "He was a threat and he was removed."
Kim Jong Nam, the older half-brother of the North Korean leader, was known to gamble in Macau and elsewhere, and the country and had spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control of the isolated state.
Several media reports in South Korea and elsewhere indicated that the female assassins, who are believed to be North Korean agents, attacked Kim Jong Nam at Kulala Lumpur airport with "poison needles." The pair escaped from the scene and are at large.
The apparent murder comes as tensions are rising following another North Korean missile launch, on Sunday. The isolated country is armed with nuclear weapons and has developed increasingly sophisticated missile technology - and at a faster pace than in previous years. Observers fear those weapons could be used to threaten Japan or South Korea, two critical U.S. allies and two of the world's biggest economies.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on Monday issued a statement to the Security Council saying it's "time to hold North Korea accountable, not with our words, but with our actions." Her statement made pointed reference to North Korea's "enablers," an apparent reference to China, which is the only country in the world with any meaningful relations with North Korea.
The United States historically leans on China to rein in North Korea, but that strategy has never worked at slowing North Korea's weapons development.
"With the nuclear program, that's one of those things that I feel almost is fueling the economy. A lot of North Korean revenues come from its arms dealings and its prowess as an arms technologist," said Basu. "We haven't seen any evidence of the nuclear program becoming less developed under further sanctions."
Kim family has a history of murderous rivalries
Kim Jong Nam was believed to be close to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, whom Kim Jong Un ordered killed in 2013 shortly after he took control of the ultra-authoritarian state.
Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un are both sons of former leader Kim Jong Il, who died in late 2011, but they had different mothers.
In 2001, Kim Jong Nam was caught at an airport in Japan traveling on a fake passport. He explained at the time that he wanted to take his family to Tokyo Disneyland. That embarrassing incident is widely believed to have been the reason that his father Kim Jong Il decided against him and in favor of his younger son, Kim Jong Un, as his heir.
Kim Jong Nam said several times over the years that he had no interest in leading his country. "Personally I am against third-generation succession," he told Japan's Asahi TV in 2010, before his younger had succeeded their father. "I hope my younger brother will do his best for the sake of North Koreans' prosperous lives."
The South Korean government source who spoke to Reuters did not immediately provide further details.
South Korea's foreign ministry said it could not confirm the reports, and the country's intelligence agency could not immediately be reached for comment.