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North Korea's Kim Jong Nam mission is not yet complete

Choi Song Min  |  2017-03-01 11:27

Choi Song Min was formerly a high-ranking military cadre in North Korea before defecting to the South.

The assassination of Kim Jong Uns half-brother has shocked the international community. Although it has not been officially announced, evidence has emerged suggesting that the assassination was ordered by Kim Jong Un and carried out by the General Reconnaissance Bureau with potential coordination with other government bodies.

Although the two Kims were blood relatives, Kim Jong Nam was likely destined to find himself in the crosshairs of Kim Jong Uns deadly wrath.  Kim Jong Un is evidently a believer in the monolithic rule of the Mount Paektu bloodline. Kim Jong Nam - as a half brother - was likely viewed as a side-branch of his interpretation of the family tree, and a potential threat.

Since rising to power five years ago, Kim Jong Un has sought to consolidate his rule with some degree of fanaticism. This has entailed promoting an atmosphere of fear and ruthless purging at the highest level of politics within the country. By executing his own uncle, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un demonstrated that anyone who challenges his regime is subject to elimination.   

Kim Jong Nams assassination can be seen as a continuation of this process. It may also have been intended as a warning to other defectors and former cadres who are critical of the regimes dynastic rule or the countrys abysmal human rights record.
The overall assassination plan does not end with the poisoning. It almost certainly entails other elements, such as getting the body transferred to Pyongyang, or alternatively, destroying it. The latest North Korean attempt to break into the morgue and steal the body is testament to Pyongyangs determination to carry out the mission until the end. 

The fact that some of the suspects who are suspected of involvement include a diplomat and an employee of Air Koryo leads to speculation that the mission entailed hiding or destroying the dead body. 

The North Korean who was in possession of the Air Koryo employee card (Kim Uk Il, 37) may have been tasked with facilitating transfer of the body to Pyongyang. His affiliation with the airline would enable such an undertaking. 

Similarly, the North Korean who was in possession of a diplomat identity card (Hyon Kwang Song, 44) would also have assisted in the crossing of international borders with minimal difficulties.

North Koreas General Reconnaissance Bureau is likely to continue to carry out tasks related to this mission, as stipulated by the regimes orders. The incident is important in that it has provided a small insight into the true nature of the North Korean regime to the rest of the world. 

*Edited by Lee Farrand

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