Kim Jong-nam’s son in video says father ‘killed’

Kuala Lumpur, March 8 (IANS) The son of Kim Jong-nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a mysterious video posted on Facebook has said that his father was killed.

In the short and censored clip, the man says: “My name is Kim Han-sol, from North Korea, part of the Kim family.”

According to him, he is with his mother and sister, but there are no details on the date or location.

It is the Kim family’s first public comment since the murder at the Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13. The attackers smeared Kim Jong-nam’s face with deadly VX nerve agent.

According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service, the man in the video is Kim Han-sol.

The 40-second clip features Kim Han-sol introducing himself and saying: “My father has been killed a few days ago. I’m currently with my mother and my sister.”

He showed a North Korean diplomatic passport to confirm Kim’s identity, though the details have been blocked out.

The man in the video said he was “grateful to…” before the audio and image were censored. He ended by saying: “We hope this gets better soon.”

It is unclear when and where the video was filmed, and what Kim Han-sol’s current whereabouts are.

It was put online by a group called the Cheollima Civil Defence (CCD). South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the group presumably assists escaping North Koreans — there is a town south-west of Pyongyang named Cheollima.

A message in English on the CCD website said it had responded to a request for protection from “survivors of the family of Kim Jong-nam”.

“We have in the past addressed other urgent needs for protection. This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed.”

Kim’s son is believed to be 21, and has lived a low-profile life since his father’s exile, growing up in Macau and China.

In 2012, he appeared in a TV interview from Bosnia, where he was studying, saying he had never met his powerful uncle or his grandfather, the late Kim Jong-il.

According to the BBC, he said he had “always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people” of North Korea.

Kim Jong-nam was once seen as a potential future leader of North Korea, but was bypassed for succession in favour of his younger half-brother. He has since lived in exile.

Though it fiercely denies this, North Korea is widely assumed to have carried out the attack with the deadly toxin, potentially to remove a threat to the leadership.

Kim’s body remains in a mortuary in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia has said it will not release it until the Kim family provides DNA samples.

Two women have been charged with KIm’s assassination — one Indonesian, one Vietnamese. Both say they were duped into killing Kim, and believed they were taking part in a televised prank.

Malaysia is seeking seven North Koreans, including a diplomat — it believes three suspects are hiding in North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, which has been surrounded by the police.

North Korea has yet to confirm the dead man is Kim — he was travelling under a passport in a different name.

The communist nation said the man died of a heart attack, not chemical attack, and is furious that a post-mortem examination was carried out.

It has accused Malaysia of conducting a biased investigation and colluding with its enemies, and is demanding to be given the body.

–IANS

py/vt

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