Brother of Kim Jong-Un assassinated in Malaysia

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. We have recorded the initial report of the death.

Multiple South Korean media reports, citing unnamed sources, said Kim Jong Nam was killed at the airport by two women. The Reuters news agency reported that the women were believed to be North Korean operatives.

Understood to be Kim Jong-Il's heir apparent as his eldest son, he was overlooked for the succession after a botched attempt to enter Japan in May 2001 on a false Dominican Republic passport.

One year before his half-brother's accession to North Korea's leadership after Kim Jong-il's December 2011 death, Kim Jong-nam had told Japan's Asahi that he opposed "dynastic succession".

Rumors have swirled for years that Kim Jong-un wanted to have his half-brother killed.

Even by the standards of sensational news from North Korea, the details that emerged yesterday were astounding. "He thinks [Kim Jong Un] has a lack of experience". He was Jong-Il's eldest son, and his mother was the actress Sung Hae-Rim. Some analysts suggest that Kim Jong-il instead chose to groom Jong-un for succession after his 2008 stroke because he favored his younger son's mother, Ko Young-hee.

Could the dead man be Kim Jong-chol rather than Kim Jong-nam?

On Tuesday, a spokesman for South Korea's governing Liberty Korea Party, Kim Myung-yeon, issued a statement saying that the killing was a "naked example of Kim Jong-un's reign of terror".

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Those comments appeared in a book by Yoji Gomi, a journalist with the Japanese newspaper the Tokyo Shimbun, who said he had exchanged emails with Kim Jong-nam over seven years.

"Police have classified the death of Kim Jong Nam as sudden death and are waiting for the full postmortem report to decide further action". He then died on the way to the hospital after being assisted by workers at the airport.

Ahmat also told Reuters that "the deceased ... felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind ..."

"At this moment we can not give any clear motive including whether this case is linked to conflicts inside or outside of North Korea", he said.

There is precedent. When Hwang Jang-yop, a senior politician, defected to South Korea in 1997, another prominent defector, Yi Han-yong, was shot in the head by suspected North Korean assassins.

Kim Jong-nam was born in 1971.

Kim Jong Nam believed his youngest brother, Kim Jong Un would fail as North Korea's leader, according to Gomi - though the two brothers never met because of the ancient practice of raising potential successors separately. "He was originally going to succeed Kim Jong Il".

  • Adam Floyd