UCF Global Perspectives


North Korea: Kim Jong Nam Suffered Heart Attack

Hannah Kipersztok, Senior Intern, Pacific Rim

March 2, 2017

A North Korean envoy rejected a Malaysian autopsy that found VX nerve agent killed Kim Jong Nam, the estranged brother of leader Kim Jong Un (AP). North Korean officials allege that Kim died of a heart attack because he suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure (NBC). Kim’s death has incited a diplomatic struggle between Malaysia and North Korea (NBC). The autopsy is an especially sensitive subject for both countries because Malaysian authorities performed the autopsy despite North Korean requests not to do so (AP). Malaysian authorities argued that they were following the law by carrying out the autopsy and dismissed claims that Kim died from a heart attack (AP).

A former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations said samples of the toxic substance found in the autopsy should be sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Reuters). Malaysian officials say two women smeared VX nerve agent, which is a banned chemical weapon, on Kim’s face as he waited for a flight at Kuala Lumpur airport (AP). The women were caught on camera and have been charged with murder (AP). Malaysian experts have speculated that North Korea orchestrated the attack (AP).







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