Man who says he’s slain N. Korean’s son says he’s safe

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Kim Tong-Hyung and Hyung-Jin Kim

A man claim­ing to be the son of the slain half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ap­peared in a YouTube video Wed­nes­day, say­ing he is safely with his mother and sis­ter.

Kim Jong Nam was killed by two women who rubbed a nerve agent on his face at an air­port in Malaysia on Feb. 13, ac­cord­ing to Malaysian police. Kim Jong Un was widely sus­pected to have or­dered his brother’s mur­der to elim­i­nate a po­ten­tial chal­lenger to his rule. Sub­se­quently, there have been wor­ries about the safety of Kim Jong Nam’s son Kim Han Sol, who de­scribed his un­cle Kim Jong Un as a “dic­ta­tor” dur­ing a rare 2012 in­ter­view with Fin­nish tele­vi­sion.

“My name is Kim Han Sol from North Korea, part of the Kim fam­ily,” the man says in English in the 40-sec­ond YouTube clip. “My fa­ther has been killed a few days ago. I’m cur­rently with my mother and my sis­ter . ... We hope this gets bet­ter soon.”

An of­fi­cial at South Korea’s Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice said the NIS had deter­mined the man in the video is Kim Han Sol.

The pub­lic af­fairs of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, cit­ing de­part­ment rules, didn’t ex­plain how his agency con­firmed the man’s iden­tity.

The NIS has a spotty record on re­port­ing de­vel­op­ments in North Korea. But a pri­vate voice anal­y­sis in­sti­tute in Seoul said there was a “high prob­a­bil­ity” that Kim Han Sol in the 2012 in­ter­view, which can also be found on YouTube, and the man in the lat­est video clip were the same speaker.

“It’s right to de­ter­mine they are the same per­son,” said Lee Cheul-houng, head of the Tran­scrip­tion Anal­y­sis Lab­o­ra­tory.

The man in the lat­est video doesn’t talk about the where­abouts of his fam­ily or how they were be­ing pro­tected. The video was posted on the YouTube chan­nel of Che­ol­lima Civil De­fense, which de­scribes it­self as a group help­ing North Korean de­fec­tors.

The group said on its web­site that it re­sponded to an “emer­gency re­quest” last month by three mem­bers of Kim Jong Nam’s fam­ily and re­lo­cated them to safety. The group ex­pressed grat­i­tude to the Nether­lands, China, the United States and a “fourth govern­ment to re­main un­named” for pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance in pro­tect­ing the three.

South Korea’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry said it had no knowl­edge of the Che­ol­lima group.

LEE JIN-MAN / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A man claim­ing to be the son of the slain half brother of North Korea’s leader is seen in a video say­ing he is with his mother and sis­ter.

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