Tuesday, 18 February, 2020


Kim Jong Un's assassinated half-brother had contacts with Central Intelligence Agency

Former US officials also said Kim Jong-nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries. — Reuters pic Kim Jong Un's assassinated half-brother had contacts with Central Intelligence Agency
Bennie Garza | 12 June, 2019, 23:42

Kim Jong Nam died in February 2017 after being poisoned with a nerve agent at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

However, on Tuesday, Trump said he had received a "beautiful" letter from Kim Jong Un, which he told reporters at the White House was "very personal, very warm, very nice", without giving details of its contents.

A February summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam had been expected to at least lay out a path forward.

While North Korea has denied any involvement, USA and South Korean officials say the highly secretive country was responsible.

The newspaper spoke to several former American officials who said that Kim's value to intelligence services was likely quite limited, despite his family ties.

"The book says that security camera footage from Kim Jong Nam's last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be a US intelligence agent", Reuter noted.

It wasn't immediately clear if Trump meant that Kim wouldn't have killed his half brother under his tenure, or if Trump wouldn't have allowed Kim's half brother to become a Central Intelligence Agency asset. However, US intelligence officials say Pyongyang has no intention of following through.

"I appreciated the letter", Trump said.

Tensions have risen again recently, as North Korea resumed some limited testing of weapons and warned of "truly undesired consequences" if the United States was not more flexible.

The 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the older half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, was recorded by security cameras.

Not only have USA officials given conflicting statements about whether they are open to a step-by-step denuclearization process, Trump at times openly disagrees with his top advisors over Korea policy.

The State Department declined to comment on the content of the letter and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Kim sent Putin a congratulatory message on Wednesday saying he believed that "the common understanding and agreements made at our first significant meeting will bear rich fruits".

Trump has insisted Kim abandon his entire nuclear weapons program before the United States relaxes sanctions against the North. Kim wants an incremental approach that would see the USA ease sanctions gradually in exchange for limited steps to dismantle his nuclear program. In the interim, North Korea has tested short-range ballistic missiles, rebuffed several attempts by Washington and Seoul to resume talks and issued a serious of angry statements on state media. "We have a very good relationship".

Susan Rice, who was national security adviser for Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, tweeted her reaction to the remarks: "America, this tells you all you need to know about our so-called 'Commander-in-Chief'".

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