S. Korea links poi­son­ing to two N. Korea min­istries

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - CHOE SANG-HUN

SEOUL, South Korea — Of­fi­cials from North Korea’s se­cret po­lice and For­eign Min­istry were in­volved in the killing of the es­tranged half brother of the coun­try’s leader, South Korean in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials told law­mak­ers Mon­day.

Ever since Kim Jong Nam, the el­dest brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, was re­ported dead, the South Korean gov­ern­ment has held the North re­spon­si­ble. On Mon­day, the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice in Seoul pro­vided more de­tails of what it de­scribed as state- spon­sored ter­ror­ism, say­ing four of the eight North Kore­ans iden­ti­fied as sus­pects by Malaysian au­thor­i­ties were agents from North Korea’s Min­istry of State Se­cu­rity, the coun­try’s se­cret po­lice.

Speak­ing Mon­day in a pri­vate par­lia­men­tary hear­ing, Lee Byung- ho, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice, said two other sus­pects worked for the North Korean Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs. The re­main­ing two were af­fil­i­ated with Air Ko­ryo, the North’s state-run air­line com­pany, and Sing­wang Eco­nomics and Trad­ing Gen­eral Corp., Lee said, ac­cord­ing to two law­mak­ers who at­tended the brief­ing. Sing­wang is among North Korean com­pa­nies fac­ing U.N. sanc­tions.

Malaysian au­thor­i­ties have said Kim Jong Nam was killed by a toxic nerve agent known as VX. They have said the North Kore­ans had hired and trained two women, one from In­done­sia, the other from Viet­nam, to at­tack Kim at Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The women smeared his face with the chem­i­cal while he was wait­ing to check in for a flight to Ma­cau, where he and his fam­ily had a home, they said.

The two women are in po­lice cus­tody in Kuala Lumpur.

Lee, the South Korean in­tel­li­gence chief, was quoted by the law­mak­ers as say­ing the eight North Kore­ans, work­ing as two four-mem­ber teams, con­verged in Kuala Lumpur to carry out the Feb. 13 as­sas­si­na­tion.

He said Ri Jae- nam, a state se­cu­rity agent, and Ri Ji-hyon, a For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial, had re­cruited Doan Thi Huong, a 28- year- old Viet­namese woman, into the as­sas­si­na­tion plot, while Siti Aisyah, a 25-year-old In­done­sian woman, was hired by O Jong- gil, a state se­cu­rity agent, and by Hong Song-hac, a For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial.

The four North Kore­ans who made up the as­sas­si­na­tion team left Malaysia the same day Kim was killed and are be­lieved to be back in their coun­try, Lee was quoted as say­ing.

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