Malaysian police authorities have identified the chemical used in the killing of the half-bother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as extremely toxic VX nerve agent that has no known uses except in chemical warfare.
Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement on Friday after the Center for Chemical Weapons Analysis at the Chemistry Department carried out preliminary tests to identify the type of chemical used in the murder of Kim Jong-nam.
“The centre did dry swabs on the eyes and face of the victim. The chemical substance on the exhibits has been identified as VX nerve agent,” Khalid said.
He added that VX is classified as a chemical weapon under the Schedule 1 of the Chemical Weapons Convention Act 2005 and Chemical Weapons Convention Act 1997.
“Other exhibits are still being analyzed,” he said.
The UN has declared VX — the most lethal nerve agent ever created — a weapon of mass destruction that fatally disrupts the nervous system once absorbed through the skin.
Malaysian police officials announced on February 14 that 46-year-old Kim had been attacked by two female assailants at the departure hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport a day earlier. The female attackers, who have been arrested, reportedly wiped some form of toxic agent over Kim’s face. He died en route to the hospital.
Reports said Kim was traveling under an alias, and it was not clear what country had issued the “diplomatic passport” that North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed he was carrying.
Apart from the two female assassins — an Indonesian and a Vietnamese — Malaysia has detained two men, one of them a North Korean national, in connection with the killing. Malaysia has also said that it “strongly” believes that four other suspects, who fled Malaysia the day of the killing, have arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
Malaysia has refused to return Kim’s body to North Korea and has sought to question a North Korean diplomat in connection with the killing.
On Wednesday, Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police said investigators were seeking to question the second secretary of North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur and an employee of the North’s state airline Air Koryo.
Khalid said police had asked for access to the two and would “compel” them to appear before police if such access was denied.
South Korean police claim that Kim was killed by North Korean agents.
The North has lambasted Malaysia for performing an “immoral and illegal” autopsy on the dead body of “a citizen” of North Korea “bearing a diplomatic passport.”