South Korea, US, Japan to discuss Kim Jong Nam's murder during trilateral talks: Official

WASHINGTON (BERNAMA) - The recent killing of the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be a key topic when South Korea, the US and Japan hold trilateral strategy talks on how to deal with Pyongyang, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported an official as saying.

Kim Hong Kyun, Seoul's chief negotiator on the North Korean nuclear issue, made the remark upon arriving in Washington for the trilateral talks with his US and Japanese counterparts Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi, Yonhap reported on Sunday (Feb 26).

The meeting, set for Monday US time, takes place after the North test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile and the North Korean leader's estranged brother Kim Jong Nam was killed in Kuala Lumpur in a poison attack apparently masterminded by the regime in Pyongyang.

Malaysian police have determined that the lethal nerve agent VX was used in the killing.

VX is a chemical weapons agent listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations and its use is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

"A lot of opinions will be exchanged with regard to the killing of Kim Jong Nam," Kim told Yonhap at the airport.

"In particular, as Malaysia has determined that the chemical weapons agent VX was used in Kim Jong Nam's killing, there will be discussions on how to deal with that," Kim added.

Kim said the killing is "an important new development," along with the North's missile launch, as the three countries assess the overall situation in the North, including the current status of the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Monday's meeting will mark the first such talks since the Trump administration came into office.

The three countries have often held such a trilateral strategy session to fine-tune and coordinate their North Korean policies. The last such meeting took place in December.

According to Yonhap the killing, coupled with the North's missile launch, has raised fresh calls in the US Congress for putting the communist regime back on the list of states sponsoring terrorism.

The US State Department has reportedly launched a review of the possibility.