Kim Jong-nam death: Killing organised by North Korean ministries, says S. Korea
North Korea has not acknowledged Kim Jong-Nam's death
In a major revelation under the current circumstances, Lawmakers in Seoul have been informed by South Korean intelligence that suspects wanted for the murder of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader included several officials who worked for the reclusive state’s foreign and security ministries.
Earlier in February, Kim Jong Nam was killed at a Malaysian airport by assassins using VX nerve agent, a chemical capable of killing in minutes and listed by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.
The developments in the case are essential to South Korea as its unpredictable nuclear-armed neighbour, and intelligence agency officials have briefed lawmakers on the sensational killing of the estranged half-brother of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korea has not acknowledged his death. But South Korean and US officials believe Kim Jong Nam, who had criticised his family’s control of the isolated state, was assassinated by agents of the North.
“Among eight suspects in this case, four are from the ministry of state security and two who actually took action are from the foreign ministry,” said Lee Cheol-woo, one of the lawmakers briefed by South Korean intelligence. “That is why it is a case of terrorism led by the state, directly organised by the ministry of state security and the foreign ministry,” Lee added.
Malaysian police have identified a total of 8 North Koreans as suspects or as wanted for questioning, including a North Korean embassy official believed to still be in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s health minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said on Sunday that Kim Jong Nam died within 15-20 minutes of being assaulted by two women who are believed to have smeared VX on his face.
The women, Indonesian and Vietnamese citizens, are in police custody and have told officials from their respective embassies that they believed they were taking part in a TV prank.
The killing has sparked a diplomatic standoff between the two usually friendly countries, with Malaysia refusing to hand over the body to North Korea before it is officially identified by the victim’s next of kin.