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Half Brother to North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Poisoned

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Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother to North Korea leader Kim Jong-un is dead, police have confirmed. Kim Jong-nam was poisoned by two women strongly believed to be operatives of North Korea’s ultra-authoritarian regime while waiting to take a flight at a Malaysian airport near Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian police said the dead man is Kim Chol, an alias that Kim Jong-nam uses, according to South Korean officials. Members of the North Korean royal family are known to travel using pseudo names.


The deceased, 45, had sought help from the airport’s information desk when he felt dizzy after an unknown attacker “grabbed his face from behind”, police said. He died when being taken to the hospital. Some media outlets reported that the assassins used “poisoned needles” to attack Kim Jong-nam and fled the scene using a taxi. Police are searching for them.

Kim Jong-nam and Kim Jong-un are sons of North Korea’s immediate former leader, the late Kim Jong Il who passed on in 2011. They however had different mothers. The older of the two brothers, Kim Jong-nam was known to largely stay outside North Korea and had vocally criticized his family’s brutal control of the land.

kim jong-nam

Getty Images

The murder comes in a string of executions of subordinates overseen by Kim Jong-un, 33, after questioning their loyalty. Additionally, the fearsome ruler has stirred up a major international crisis after launching ballistic missile and significantly increased tests for nuclear weapons.
It is believed that Kim Jong-nam had a close relationship with his uncle and former chief adviser of the Kim’s administration, Jang Song Thaek. Shortly after taking the helm of North Korea, Kim Jong-un ordered the arrest and subsequent murder of Song Thaek.

Political commentators strongly believe that Kim Jong-un ordered the killing of his older brother,who was once the apparent heir of their father’s position and was largely favored by China, North Korea’s main partner and benefactor. The theory that Kim Jong-un had a hand in the murder is further strengthened by the fact that Kim Jong-nam publicly criticized his family’s total control of the isolated state. Kim’s family has reigned over North Korea for at least 6 decades.

kim jong-un

Twitter/@_Kim_Jongun

Kim Jong-un is believed to have infuriated China with his provoking missile testing and threats to create even more nuclear weaponry. Increased sanctions by the international community do not seem to slow down the development of more sophisticated arsenal that is a major concern for neighbors South Korea and Japan.

As a bloodliner, Kim Jong-un probably felt threatened by Kim Jong-nam and was probably feeling that China is planning to overthrow him and give the mantle of leadership to Kim Jong-nam.

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