Kim Jong-un’s half-brother killed in apparent assassination
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Kim Jong-un is North Korea’s Great Leader, but he was not necessarily first in line for the office. The late Kim Jong-il had an older son, Kim Jong-nam, by a mistress. Thus, Jong-un and Jong-nam were half-brothers. However, Jong-nam was an outsider ever since his youth, and he spent most of his life outside the country before finally leaving for exile according to The Washington Post.
In an apparent assassination, two women approached Kim Jong-nam in a Kuala Lumpur airport, touched his face, and soon after the exiled Kim was dead. The Malaysian police has concluded that the women used VX, an incredibly deadly nerve agent whose use has been banned by most nations.
Because North Korea is not a signatory of the Chemical Weapons Convention and is one of the few countries that has an active chemical weapons program (though Pyongyang denies this), numerous analysts have attributed the assassination to North Korea’s leadership as reported by NPR.
In North Korea, the Kims are practically gods; their “holy bloodline” is connected to the Mount Baekdu, a Korean symbol of spirituality. The Atlantic writes, “If Kim Jong-un did order the murder of his half-brother, he may have unwittingly disproven the invincibility of the Baekdu bloodline.” Unsurprisingly, North Koreans at large have not been made aware of Kim Jong-nam’s death, and South Korea has therefore determined to blare the news from giant speakers at the border.
The North Korean state media called Jong-nam’s death a “heart stroke” and accused Malaysia of illegally performing an autopsy on Jong-nam’s body. While Malaysian police have arrested the two women suspected (one from Vietnam and the other from Indonesia), there are eight North Korean suspects who have been identified by Malaysian investigators.