North Korean Leader's Half Brother Dead In Suspected Assassination

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15 February, 2017

Malaysian police have confirmed that the North Korean man killed Monday in Kuala Lumpur was the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Bernama state news agency reports.

Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son of North Korea's previous leader, Kim Jong Il, and was once considered the favorite to succeed his father. No other details were immediately available. Malaysian authorities have not identified the suspected assassin, but have started an investigation.

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 Jong Un, the third-eldest known son of Kim Jong Il, emerged as the heir apparent in 2009.

Some South Korean media have reported North Korean agents are responsible.

Cheong Seong-Jang, senior researcher at Seoul's Sejong Institute think-tank, said Jong-Nam had been living in near-exile so it was unlikely that Jong-Un saw him as a potential competitor for power.

The man reportedly said that the Chinese government was monitoring him, saying in 2012: "The Chinese government is protecting me, but it is also monitoring me too".

He said he wanted to visit Disneyland. In 2013, his uncle and North Korea's second-in-command was convicted of treason and sent to a gun range where his body was turned to pulp by anti-aircraft machine guns.

Kim Jong Nam spent large amounts of time outside North Korea.

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The man, who was born in 1971, was half-brothers with the current North Korean leader Kim Jong - with both the sons of Kim Jong-il but having different mothers.

U.S. officials reportedly suspect that Kim's murder this week was a political assassination, ordered by Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong Nam's son, now 21, once posted photographs of himself wearing a cross and has spoken out about humanitarian issues such as human rights and starvation in North Korea.

Jong-Un has been trying to strengthen his grip on power in the face of growing global pressure over his country's nuclear and missile programmes.

In Malaysia, the police chief in charge of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Assistant Commissioner Abdul Aziz Ali, told AFP a Korean in his forties was found sick at the airport yesterday.

South Korean news reports on the death of Kim Jong-nam.

With Kim Jong Nam out of the picture, you might assume that Kim Jong Chul, the middle son, would be the natural choice for a new heir.

He said several times over the years that he had no interest in leading his country.

"I hope my younger brother will do his best for the sake of North Koreans' prosperous lives".

In his five years of leadership, Kim Jong Un has resisted calls to reform his economy and has methodically pursued the development of weapons of mass destruction. Kim Hong Un reportedly ordered his execution.


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