Kim Jong Un's half brother is reported assassinated in Malaysia

Alicia WestFeb 15, 2017

The Royal Malaysian Police issued a statement identifying the deceased as a 46-year-old North Korean man, Kim Chol - an alias that South Korean officials say was being used by Kim Jong-nam.

Kim Jong-nam, 45, is said to have been targeted at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry, however, said it still could not confirm the reports.

Outside analysts had once assumed that Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of former leader Kim Jong-il, could be the intended heir after his father, whose own father, Kim Il-sung, founded the Democratic People's Republic of Korea after World War II. His second son, Kim Jong Chul, was deemed too much of a "sissy" for the he-man Dear Leader.

Kim Jong Nam, the son of Kim Jong Il's first consort, was known to have lived mostly outside of North Korea, and to have spoken out against passing down the government leadership in the family line. "Our investigations are focusing on determining the identities of the suspects and we will handle the case according to the Malaysian laws". Presumably, his assailants were North Korean agents.

Despite the attempts on his life, Kim Jong Nam had reportedly traveled to North Korea since then, so it was assumed he was no longer under threat.

Interestingly, his half-brother, the current North Korea leader, was also educated in Switzerland but developed no such opinions.

Malaysia has been a hotbed of North Korean intrigue. His mother, Ko, who died in 2004, was born in Japan. She was never married to Kim Jong-il.

In 2014, Jong-Nam was reported to be in Indonesia - sighted at an Italian restaurant in Jakarta - and was said to be shuttling back and forth between Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and France.

His other relatives: Kim Jong Un has at least one nephew, a 21-year-old named Kim Han Sol who recently declared his uncle a "dictator".

"There's a history of bloodshed within the family", Reuters' Julian Satterthwaite reports about North Korea's Kim dynasty. "He was originally going to succeed Kim Jong Il".

If confirmed, Mr Kim's death would be the most high-profile one since the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek in December 2013.

Oh Shin-hwan, a spokesman for the conservative Bareun Party, said members of his party "cannot help but be dismayed at the "fearpolitik" of Kim Jong Un" while urging a closer examination to see whether the incident would affect national security.

Kim was a frequent traveler to China but had not defected from the North Korean government.

Ken E. Gause, a specialist in leadership studies at the CNA Corp., a research group in Alexandria, Va., said the killing of Kim Jong Nam would also be a signal to the North Korean expatriate community.

Regardless of which brother got the assassin treatment, this serves to remind everyone about the nature of the Kim regime in Pyongyang.

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