Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Kim Jong Un Consolidates Power in North Korea's Game of Thrones

Kim Jong Un Consolidates Power in North Korea's Game of Thrones

"A woman came from behind and covered his face with a cloth laced with a liquid", Police Chief Fadzil Ahmat told Bernama, the Malaysian state news agency.

Two senior Malaysian government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case involves sensitive diplomacy, told The Associated Press that the victim was Kim Jong Nam, the estranged older half-brother of North Korea's leader who had been living overseas for years.

Kim Jong Nam, who was 45 or 46, was estranged from his younger brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and had been living overseas for years. He told officials the family wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Hwang urged top-level South Korean government officials to "closely cooperate" with Malaysian authorities to "thoroughly figure out the truth of the case".

Now, Kim Jong-un has only three living siblings, none of whom are seen as threats to his power. South Korea's TV Chosun, a cable-TV network, reported that Kim had allegedly been killed by two unidentified women with poisoned needles.

The South Korean government source who spoke to Reuters did not immediately provide further details.

For the next several days, North Korea will be marking the birthday of its late leader Kim Jong Il, the brothers' father, though they have different mothers.

If confirmed, it would be the highest-profile North Korean death since Kim Jong Un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was executed in December 2013. It follows the defection a year ago of a senior diplomat from the North Korean Embassy in London who has spoken of his despair at Kim's purges.

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Malaysian officials said it took authorities a day to identify Kim Jong Nam because he was travelling under a false passport.

Kim Jong-nam died after an apparent poison attack in the airport in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday. He favored Kim Jong Un the most because his youngest son resembled the dictator in behavior, according to a 2003 memoir by a former Japanese chef for the family.

Kim Jong-nam's wife is now staying in Beijing with a son, while his second wife is living in Macao with a son and a daughter.

Outside the forensics department, a black Jaguar sedan bearing the North Korean flag pulled up on Wednesday afternoon, followed by another vehicle. She has a position in a propaganda and agitation department and is known as Kim Jong Un's gatekeeper, Gause said.

Speculation has run rampant that Jong Un was behind the hit because of his rocky relationship with Jong Nam over the years.

It is understood he was targeted on Monday in the shopping concourse at the airport and had not yet gone through immigration for his flight to Macau.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry reportedly said Wednesday it was closely watching the developments in Kim Jong Nam's murder case. Jong-nam's death comes two days before Kim Jong-il's birthday anniversary, which is on Thursday.

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