VX Use in Assassination “Reprehensible”

April 2017

The Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expressed “grave concern” March 10 about the apparent use of VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s dictator, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The OPCW called the use of VX, as announced by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry on March 3, “reprehensible and completely contrary to the legal norms and standards of the international community,” amid speculation that dictator Kim Jong Un was behind the Feb. 13 attack. Kim Jong Nam died about 20 minutes after two women, one Indonesian and the other Vietnamese, applied VX on his face, according to Malaysian authorities, who said the women had been recruited by a team of North Koreans. The OPCW offered to provide technical assistance to Malaysia’s investigation. Ri Tong Il, a senior North Korean diplomat who flew to Kuala Lumpur to collect the body, attributed the death to a possible heart attack due to a history of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Malaysian officials said they would delay the transfer of the remains temporarily while awaiting word from immediate family living in Macau and China.