Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's Like Bad TV

Kim Jong Un, Assassination, North Korea, DPRK

Some of the more interesting headlines from the ongoing drama of the KJU killing, which increasingly looks like a remake of a "24" episode:

Theories abound over motive for Kim Jong Nam killing
HIROSHI MINEGISHI and CK TAN, Nikkei Asian Review

Later, Kim Jong Nam became an outspoken critic of his family's dynasty and once told a Japanese TV station that he was opposed to a third generation of Kims ruling North Korea. 
Other experts on North Korea argue the older Kim's attempts to seek political asylum triggered the hit. Recent reports in the South Korean media said Kim Jong Nam sought asylum in 2012. 
"Kim Jong Nam attempted to defect to South Korea or another country and ignored Kim Jong Un's orders to come home, which is why he was assassinated," said Jeong Seong-jang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.

N. Korea's biotechnology institute behind Malaysia killing: source
Unsigned article in the Korea Herald

We got a tip that Kim Jong-un issued an order in December 2014 to remove Kim Jong-nam," said Choi Sung-young, who represents a group of South Koreans whose families were abducted to North Korea decades ago. 
Choi said North Korea's military unit 810, which is also known as a biotechnology institute in charge of developing agricultural chemicals, was behind the killing of Kim Jong-nam. 
He also claimed that the institute appears to have carried out a mock test on some 20 political offenders weighing 80-90 kilograms in preparation for killing Kim Jong-nam.

Suspects coated hands with poison, wiped it on Kim Jong Nam’s face: Malaysia
AP item in the Deccan Chronicle

Khalid said the women knew they were handling poisonous materials and that they had been instructed to wash their hands. He said surveillance video footage showed both walking away from Kim with their hands away from their bodies. 
He said the women had practised the attack at two Kuala Lumpur malls. 
"We strongly believe it is a planned thing and that they have been trained to do that," he told reporters.

Has hermit state North Korea become even more isolated after assassination in Malaysia?
AFP article in the SCMP

Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur have enjoyed relatively warm economic ties, with some bilateral trade and citizens from both countries entitled to travel to the other under a unique reciprocal visa-free deal. 
Malaysia has also provided a channel between Pyongyang officials and the wider world, with Kuala Lumpur in recent years serving as a discreet meeting place for talks between the regime and the US. 
But all that could come to an end following a war of words over Malaysia’s probe into the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, which has seen Pyongyang’s envoy to Kuala Lumpur savage local police, and Malaysia recall its ambassador to the North.

There is good news from Pyongyang
Junheng Li in the Australian Financial Review

China has wanted economic changes in North Korea along the lines of the market reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1979. It considers such reforms necessary to prevent an economic collapse. Kim Jong-nam was a proponent of such an evolution. He lived, under Chinese protection, in Macao.

China also fears a reunification of the two Koreas that would take the form of an effective takeover of the north by the south. Strategically and politically China does not want South Korean and US troops on its border. Having the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, an anti-ballistic missile defense offered by the US to South Korea, deployed at its border with a newly unified Korea would be interpreted as a public slap in the face by China's rulers.

There is some hope, however, that the steady progress toward nuclear warfare capability achieved by North Korea and the abandonment of any hope for the economic reforms necessary to prevent an economic collapse could create strategic common ground between China and the US...

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