Malaysia: VX Nerve Agent Killed North Korea's Kim

The poison used to kill the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader at a crowded air terminal in Malaysia last week was the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent, police said Friday.

Royal Malaysia Police said Friday that swabs from the Nam's face and eye tested positive for "VX nerve agent", a substance listed as a chemical weapon and banned by an global convention.

The Centers for Disease Control says VX "is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent".

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, died February 13 shortly after two women put a substance on his face while he was checking in for a flight.

The North Korean ambassador in Kuala Lumpur has read out several angry statements, accusing Malaysia of trying to "besmirch" Pyongyang's reputation and of being put up to this by the South Korean government.

South Korea's defence ministry said in its 2014 Defence White Paper that the North began producing chemical weapons in the 1980s and estimated that it has about 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes in stock.

In terms of the brazen nature of the killing, and its complete disregard for worldwide norms or the safety of bystanders, the VX murder of Kim Jong-Nam is comparable to the assassination of former Russian intelligence officer, Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006, using the rare radioactive poison, polonium-210.

According to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, the use of a banned chemical weapon on Malaysian soil could have a serious impact on bilateral relations. "It is possible that any visible VX liquid contact on the skin, unless washed off immediately, would be lethal", the CDC says on its website.

He assured that Malaysia is conducting the investigations into the death professionally and without any influence.

When consumed in massive doses, VX typically results in convulsions, unconsciousness, paralysis and then death.

Malaysian police said Friday that one of the two women did suffer vomiting after she was taken into custody, but that she had recovered since.

However, the body of the North Korean national remains unclaimed in a Kuala Lumpur hospital till date.

The Indonesian government has confirmed that at least three of the suspects entered and left the country.

" Roughly 1/100th of a gram - one third of a drop - on someone's skin, will kill them, says Bruce Bennet, defense researcher at California-based RAND Corporation".

Malaysian police have still to receive DNA samples from Kim Jong-nam's next of kin, Khalid said.

One of the female suspects also showed signs of exposure to VX.

The sources said North Korea apparently feared that if the four were detained at a Chinese airport, it could pose a serious problem for Pyongyang.

The Aum Shinrikyo cult released sarin gas on a Tokyo subway in 1995.

  • Arturo Norris