North Korea pours scorn on ‘absurd’ claims that Kim Jong Nam's murder was caused by nerve agent

Members of Malaysia's Hazmat team conducting a decontamination operation at the departure terminals of KLIA2 on Feb 26, 2017.
Members of Malaysia's Hazmat team conducting a decontamination operation at the departure terminals of KLIA2 on Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea on Wednesday  (March 1) poured scorn on “absurd” claims that one of its people was killed in Malaysia with a highly lethal nerve agent, accusing South Korea and the US of running a smear campaign.

Malaysian police said two women used the VX agent to kill Mr Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of  North Korean  leader Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

CCTV footage shows the pair, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, approaching him and apparently rubbing a cloth over his face. They appeared in court on Wednesday charged with murder.

South Korea said the North Korean government of  Mr Kim Jong Un ordered the killing of  Mr Kim Jong Nam, and engaged two outsiders to carry it out. Malaysia has arrested one North Korean and named several others as suspects.

The North, in a dispatch on the official KCNA news agency, identified the victim only as Kim Chol, the name under which Mr Kim Jong Nam was travelling.

It was “the height of absurdity to claim that the person who applied VX, a substance fatal to the life even in case of inhalation of a tiny amount of it or its touch of skin, was left unaffected and the person to whom it was applied met a death,” KCNA cited unidentified experts as saying.

 

The arrested women had visited South Korea several times in the past and it was “highly possible” that Seoul allowed them to carry whatever substance was used, KCNA reported.

It also claimed that the United States was introducing “all kinds of chemical weapons” into South Korea.

“This being a hard fact, the US and the South Korean authorities are kicking up an anti-DPRK smear campaign, groundlessly pulling it up,” it added. DPRK refers to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is North Korea’s formal name.

Washington was trying “to stir up international repugnancy towards the DPRK, lay an international siege for putting pressure on it and provoke a nuclear war against the DPRK at any cost”, it added.