Murder reveals nature of N Korean leader
The assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the elder brother of Kim Jong Un, at a crowded airport demonstrates the power and paranoia of the North Korean leader. The FT's Jeevan Vasagar reports from Kuala Lumpur airport.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is back to normal after Monday's brazen assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother among a crowd of passengers. These CCTV images show one of the two women arrested in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam. The two women, one of whom had a Vietnamese passport and the other an Indonesian one, approached Mr. Kim, and one of them smothered him with a wet cloth. According to police, Mr. Kim appealed frantically for help in the moments after the attack, complaining that his eyes were in pain. He collapsed and died on the way to hospital.
On Wednesday, North Korean officials arrived at a hospital where an autopsy was being carried out, although Malaysian authorities insist they will resist any foreign interference in the case. The killing sends two very clear messages about the North Korean regime. First, Kim Jong-un has absolute power. He's stepped out of his father's shadows and he's ready to build his own personality cult. Second, he is paranoid about threats, real or imagined. Both these notions are crucial to understanding the North Korean nuclear situation. Kim is not going to give up his nuclear weapons. They secure his existence from outside forces and win him popular support at home.
Now passengers at the airport are queuing calmly, right next to the spot where Mr. Kim was attacked. But a visible police presence hints at the events, like something out of a spy movie, that happened here just a few days ago. Jeevan Vasager, Financial Times, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Produced by Tom Griggs. Edited by Paolo Pascual. Footage from Jeevan Vasagar and Reuters.