A Nerve Agent Killed Kim Jong Un's Half Brother, Authorities Say

Cheryl Sanders
February 24, 2017

Malaysian police said on Friday a preliminary report showed the murder of Kim Jong Nam was carried out with a highly toxic chemical known as VX nerve agent.

The two women suspects (pix) were said to have wiped a liquid on Jong-nam's face, who had later sought help from airport staff but died on the way to the hospital.

Melissa Hanham, a senior nonproliferation researcher specialising in east Asia at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said the use of VX might explain why the attack in Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia involved two assailants.

A Vietnamese woman, an Indonesian woman and a North Korean man have been arrested.

Malaysian officials found VX in swabs from Kim's face and eyes, but they still don't know where it came from. "This seems to be an after effect of Kim Jong Nam's assassination".

" Sarin gas was used in Syria, killing hundreds in deadly attacks in 2013".

The suspected informant spent 10 days in a coma before dying. Sidelined early in the power struggle to succeed his father, Kim Jong-nam went on to live a life of affluence in exile, largely in China.

North Korea is believed to have the world's third-largest stockpile of chemical weapons, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative project, which analyses weapons of mass destruction.

Khalid said Friday experts would sweep the busy airport terminal where the Cold War-era attack took place for traces of the toxin as well as other locations the women had visited.

Dr Bruce Goldberger, a leading toxicologist who heads the forensic medicine division at the University of Florida, said even a tiny amount of the nerve agent - equal to a few grains of salt - was capable of killing.

It can be administered through the skin and there is an antidote that can be administered by injection.

Pyongyang has denied it has chemical weapons. "Very, very toxic", Dr Goldberger said.

Veteran Malaysian diplomat Dennis Ignatius, who served as ambassador to countries including Canada before retirement, said throwing out an ambassador was regarded as a last resort.

" It can cause convulsions, loss of consciousness, paralysis and respiratory failure in minutes". This would fit with Kim Jong Un's track record of getting rid of potential contenders for the leadership of North Korea. North Korea relies on North Koreans working overseas to conduct meetings with third party states on Malaysian soil (which can not be done with diplomatic suspension) and needs the remittance income of its citizens working in Malaysia to keep the North's moribund economy afloat.

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