Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 107a, 16.02.2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Peace Network
PN's Voice No. 107a, 16. 02. 2017
Small steps, Road to peace
Half-Brother of North Korean Leader Murdered in Malaysia
The biggest story on the Korean Peninsula this week is undoubtedly the news of Kim Jong- Nam’s murder. Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was preparing for a morning flight from Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpar to Macao, where he resided, when he was attacked. Malaysian police described a scene akin to something that had jumped straight from the pages of a spy novel; Kim, travelling on a fake passport, was standing waiting to board his flight when he was attacked by two unidentified women. The first female assailant is reported to have sprayed some sort of chemical in Kim’s face, while the second attacker pressed a handkerchief laced with poison over Kim’s face for 10 seconds. Kim was rushed to hospital but died shortly after arrival. At the time of writing the two female assailants have both been caught and are being questioned.
The big question though is why would Kim Jong-nam be target for such an attack? North Korea has a long history of assassinating people seen as betraying the state or posing a threat to the regime and Kim Jong-un has overseen a spree of domestic executions of those he deems to be a threat to his own power. However, his half-brother, Jong-nam, was far from interested in ascending to power in North Korea. In fact Jong-nam had on numerous occasions distanced himself from the ruling regime and any questions over his own aspirations for power. Additionally, he had spent long periods of his life outside of North Korea and was often seen as indulging in a ‘play boy’ lifestyle. Any chance Jong-nam may have had at succeeding his father, Kim Jong-Il, as the leader of North Korea appeared to go out of the window in 2001 when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in order to visit Disneyland. Some analysts suggest that after this point Jong-nam fell out of favour and his father Kim Jong-il decided to groom Jong-un for succession instead.
Despite Jong-nam seemingly be far from a threat to the incumbent leader’s power, reports have surfaced that Jong-nam’s murder is the result of standing order from Kim Jong-un that has been active for at least the last five years. Additionally, the head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service said on Wednesday that Jong-nam knew he was a marked man and had survived a previous attempt on his life in 2012. After this failed attempt on his life Jong-nam - fearing for his life - wrote to Kim Jong-un asking his half-brother to spare his life and that of his family. Some commentators have judged the incumbent leader’s assessment of his half-brother as a threat to his own power as a sign of Kim Jong-un’s "delusional disorder". However, further reports from Radio Free Asia reveal an unnamed North Korean official stating that he may know the reason behind Jong-nam’s murder. The official believed Jong-name was targeted as he refused to return to North Korea. According to the report, the current leader had ordered the State Security Ministry to bring Kim Jong-nam, back to the North, instructing its diplomats to talk him into coming back home on his own without making a fuss.
Finally, while North Korea is yet to confirm that the deceased is indeed Kim Jong-nam, the South Korean military is gearing up to use loudspeakers across the border with North Korea to broadcast the news of the killing of Kim Jong-nam to ordinary North Korean citizens. "
Source : The Telegraph, The Washington Post, Yonhap News
Seoul, Mapo-gu, Mangwon-dong 423-2 (World Cup Gil 25, 55), 5th floor, Peace Network
Tel: +82 2 733 3509