There’s no limit to the awful when it comes to North Korean lines of succession and authority.
Kim Jong-nam, the older half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was ruthlessly murdered at the airport in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, purportedly by North Korean agents wielding “poison needles,” the Telegraph reported Tuesday.
At one time, the older Kim was in line to succeed his father, Kim Jong Il, but apparently he developed too great a taste for Western life (aka “freedom”) and possibly some seed of a conscience. In 2001, he was arrested trying to smuggle himself into Japan on a forged passport–he said to police he wanted to take his family to Disneyland.
Kim Jong-nam lived in Macau after he was booted from the hermit kingdom, until his younger brother brought him in to help resolve disputes with Japan, according to the Telegraph. Regardless, it’s now apparent that the older brother outlived his usefulness, and may even have represented a threat to the corpulent Juche zealot who rules North Korea for his benefit alone.
According to South Korea’s Institute for National Security, as of December 2016, Kim (the younger) has personally ordered 340 people executed since December 2011, when he assumed power.
Though most of them were killed mobster-style, with a gunshot to the head, others were given more gruesome deaths.
Some have been executed by anti-aircraft weapons. On other occasions, flame-throwers were used.
And in at least one case, it seems, a mortar round was put to use on the execution grounds.
The most senior member of the present dictator was his own uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who was executed in December 2013 after being found guilty of a raft of crimes against the state, including “gnawing at the unity and cohesion of the party” and “dreaming different dreams”.
Some reports in 2014 indicated that Jang was fed to a pack of starving dogs. Those reports were later debunked (although “probably not true” is the best we can determine), but the fact that they were so widely believed lends weight to the bloodthirsty and cruel nature of the Nork regime.
Although Kim Jong-nam’s death hasn’t officially been ruled a murder, I think there’s sufficient evidence that his younger brother would, could, and did order his assassination. Dealing with the Norks is orders of magnitude more dangerous than other rogue killer regimes. Allowing them to possess a combination of nuclear weapons (which they have) and long-range ICBM’s is simply foolhardy.
Read what retired Admiral James Stavridis wrote in TIME on this.
North Korea is a team sport. Our allies and friends — South Korea, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia and others — all agree on the challenges. We should leverage their participation in diplomatic and economic initiatives to deal with the North. And we’ll need to conduct frequent allied exercises to leverage joint operational capability in things like missile defense.
Whatever President Trump does, he needs to recognize that there’s no “deal” with the Norks. Eventually, stone cold murderers and thugs must lose.