Published: Wed, February 15, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Malaysia confirms death of Kim Jung-un's half-brother

Malaysia confirms death of Kim Jung-un's half-brother

Kim Jong-nam, 45, is said to have been targeted at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

South Korea's foreign ministry said it could not confirm the reports, and the country's intelligence agency could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jong-nam was scheduled to take a flight to Macau from Malaysia on Monday morning, but is said to have died enroute to the hospital.

Jong-nam was going to be the heir apparent to Kim Jong il until his arrest in 2001, when authorities caught him with a fake Dominican Republic passport in Tokyo's Narita Airport.

Those women are at large, according to the outlet, which cited multiple South Korean government sources.

For many years, it was believed Kim Jong-nam was being groomed to succeed his father Kim Jong-il as the next leader of North Korea.

The Kim family dynasty has ruled the country since it was established in 1948.

Kim Kwang In, a North Korea expert and director of the Coalition for the Modernization of Korea, told RFA there would be some logic to eliminating Kim Jong Nam from the point of view of Kim Jong Un, who took power when his father died in 2011.

The Argumenty i Fakty weekly said he was kicked out of a luxury hotel in Macau over a US$15,000 debt.

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The North Korean leader's brother was rushed to a local hospital but died on the way, according to reports.

Both before and after the announcement, the usually reclusive Kim Jong Nam said in interviews with Japanese media that he was opposed to hereditary succession, something that not even Mao Zedong had done in China.

Officials said that Kim's half-brother frequently spent time away from North Korea, and so he held little sway over the nation's politics. A book about the Kim family called Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader reported that he became "a familiar figure" at a bathhouse in Yoshiwara which is one of Tokyo's red light districts in the late 1990s.

Kim Jong Nam was not necessarily a proponent of North Korea's dynastic succession. It was there that Kim Jong Il is also (falsely) alleged to have been born. Kim Jong-nam was once considered the favored successor to his father, Kim Jong-il. Her roots in Japan, Korea's former colonial master, had negative implications in the North and were kept hidden from the ordinary people.

Kim Jong-nam may have invited his half-brother's ire by criticizing him publicly.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for South Korea's governing Liberty Korea Party, Kim Myung-yeon, issued a statement saying that the killing was a "naked example of Kim Jong Un's reign of terror".

In the past, Kim Jong-Un has allegedly executed senior advisory officials in an effort to more tightly seize power in the secretive and authoritarian state.

Some speculate that Kim's death was the work of the Pyongyang regime. It's unclear what positon he has in the North Korean government.

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