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"Malaysia condemns use of VX at airport; prepares to deport NorthKorean"
Friday, March 3, 2017
Malaysia condemns use of VX at airport; prepares to deport North Korean
By Praveen Menon and Angie Teo
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia condemned the use of VX, the super toxic nerve agent
that killed the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a
Kuala Lumpur airport last month, as authorities on Friday prepared to deport a
North Korean suspect.
Kim Jong Nam was murdered on Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport,
where he was assaulted by two women who allegedly smeared his face with VX, a
chemical classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.
"The Ministry strongly condemns the use of such a chemical weapon by anyone,
anywhere and under any circumstances. Its use at a public place could have
endangered the general public," the Malaysian foreign ministry said in a
The ministry said it was in close contact with the Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an inter-governmental organization based in
the Netherlands, regarding the incident.
"Malaysia does not produce, stockpile, import, export or use any Schedule 1
toxic chemicals including VX, and has made annual declarations to that effect
to the OPCW," the statement said.
Relations between Malaysia and North Korea, who have maintained friendly ties
for decades, have soured since the killing of Kim Jong Nam at the airport two
North Korea's envoy to Malaysia has said earlier that police investigations in
the case cannot be trusted. North Korea has not accepted that the dead man is
Kim Jong Nam, and said on Thursday that its citizen may have died of a heart
South Korean intelligence and U.S. officials say the murder was an
assassination organized by North Korean agents, though the only suspects
charged in the case so far are an Indonesian woman and a Vietnamese woman.
Kim Jong Nam was waiting at the departure hall of the airport when he was
assaulted by two women, a Vietnamese and an Indonesian, who wiped his face with
a liquid, identified by an autopsy as VX. He died within 20 minutes of the
Both women were charged with murder earlier this week. They have told diplomats
from their home countries that they thought they were participating in a prank
for reality television.
Another North Korean suspect, who was arrested on Feb 18 over the killing was
released from a detention center on Friday, and driven away in a police convoy,
a Reuters witness said.
Ri Jong Chol, who had been detained a few days after the killing was taken to
the immigration office wearing a bullet proof vest to prepare his deportation
to North Korea.
Malaysia's attorney-general told Reuters on Thursday that he would be released
due to insufficient evidence.
Police have identified seven other North Koreans wanted in connection with the
killing, including a senior embassy official in Kuala Lumpur. Four of them have
left the country and are believed to be in Pyongyang.
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