South Korea's military on high level of readiness after news of Kim Jong Nam's death: Report

A South Korean watches a television broadcast about the alleged assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, at a restaurant in Pyeongchang on Feb 15, 2017.
A South Korean watches a television broadcast about the alleged assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, at a restaurant in Pyeongchang on Feb 15, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL - The South Korean military said on Thursday (Feb 16) it is maintaining a high level of readiness to deal with all national security threats following the news of the death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) told a media briefing that it has not detected any unusual movements in North Korea following Mr Kim Jong Nam's death in Malaysia on Monday, but takes the news of his death seriously.

The JCS official also said that the military may announce the news through loudspeakers to North Korean soldiers and citizens near the North Korean border if Malaysia confirms Mr Kim's cause of death, Yonhap reported.

Mr Kim's autopsy was completed on Wednesday evening but officials have not released the post-mortem result.

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Thursday confirmed that Mr Kim was travelling under the name of Kim Chol and said Malaysia would repatriate Mr Kim's body back to North Korea as part of the country's bilateral relations with the North Korean regime.

 

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The JCS official also said that South Korea's military had stepped up intelligence sharing on North Korea with the US forces and strengthened its surveillance and defence capabilities so as to thwart any aggression by the North.

Mr Kim, the eldest son of former leader Kim Jong Il, is believed to have been poisoned by agents from the North on Monday morning as he walked through Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on his way to board a flight for Macau, where he had spent many years in exile.