N.Korea Blames Seoul for Kim Jong-nam's Death

  • By Lee Yong-soo

    February 24, 2017 11:43

    North Korea in its first statement on the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of leader Kim Jong-un, alleged a conspiracy orchestrated by South Korea.

    Without naming Kim Jong-nam, whom it merely described as "a citizen" of North Korea, the official KCNA news agency accused Malaysian authorities of conspiring with South Korea to sabotage the North.

    "What merits more serious attention is the fact that the unjust acts of the Malaysian side are timed to coincide with the anti-[North Korean] conspiratorial racket launched by the South Korean authorities," it said.

    In prose that sounded less like a bad translation and more like a Martian's attempt at human speech, it accused Malaysia's investigation of being riddled with "faults and contradiction."

    "This proves that the Malaysian side is going to politicize the transfer of the body in utter disregard of international law and morality and thus attain a sinister purpose," it added.

    A Unification Ministry official here said the comments are "unworthy of a response."

    North Korean Embassy officials in Malaysia have variously claimed the dead man is not Kim Jong-nam, was not assassinated, and was not killed by North Korea. They have demanded that the body be cremated without an autopsy or handed over, and apparently tried to break into the morgue.

    But North Korea still seems wary of publicizing the killing. The statement was not repeated in the official newspapers, and there are signs that border security has been reinforced to prevent the news from seeping into the country.

    One defector who used to be a high-ranking official in the North said, "North Koreans have been brainwashed to believe that Kim Jong-un is the legitimate successor of former leader Kim Jong-il. If they find out about Kim Jong-nam, the very foundation of the hereditary transfer of power could be shaken."

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