Chinese police arrested several North Koreans dispatched to Beijing on suspicion of plotting to murder Kim Jong Un’s 22-year-old nephew, South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported.
Two of seven North Korean agents were arrested over the alleged plot to kill Kim Han Sol, whose father Kim Jong Nam was assassinated in Malaysia earlier this year, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified person familiar with North Korean issues.
Some agents are being interrogated in special facilities on the outskirts of Beijing, the paper said, without elaborating on whether the other five were arrested. China’s foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.
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Two women are currently on trial in Malaysia on charges of murdering Kim Jong Nam at a Kuala Lumpur airport in February. Kim Han Sol identified himself as Kim Jong Nam’s son in a YouTube clip in March.
South Korean government officials have speculated that Kim Jong Un was behind the murder of his half-brother, a critic of his leadership who had lived outside the country for years. Authorities in Malaysia said the two women charged with Kim Jong Nam’s murder used the chemical weapon VX in the attack, claiming they were trained to swipe the poison on the victim’s face and knew the substance was toxic. The pair have pleaded not guilty.
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Kim Jong Nam isn’t the first family member to be killed since Kim Jong Un took power in 2011: he executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek in 2013 on charges of graft and factionalism. Earlier this month, the leader promoted his 28-year-old sister to the ruling party’s political wing, bringing her closer to the center of power.
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