The Death of an Heir

By Jehseok Alex Kim

2500.jpgThe former dictator of North Korea Kim Jong-Il (left) sitting next to his eldest son Kim Jong-Nam (right). Image: European Pressphoto Agency

The paranoia of the world for a possible war, which will end humanity and destroy the planet has apparently come to a “dead-end.” People warned me (due to my South Korean nationality) that Kim Jong-Un even killed his brother, so it must mean the apocalyptic Armageddon is imminent. Unlike the Berlin Wall, the DMZ may never come down. Unlike the 17th parallel, the 38th parallel may be in divide forever.

However, that is not necessarily the case.

With my father, I was walking through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a family trip on a vacation to Thailand. We were hurrying in the airport for the vacation, but my father stopped and pointed. Suddenly, my enthusiasm and eagerness for the trip disappeared as chills started crawling on my back. Little drops of sweat formed on my head and even in the busy airport with everyone scrambling around for exits, I felt a deafening silence as I could not take my eyes off of the murder scene. My mind continuously brought back the haunting images of the assassination that was in the news. My father just whispered, “Yes, that is where Kim Jong-Nam was assassinated.”

Kim Jong-Nam, the apparent heir of the North Korean leadership in the late 20th century and the half-brother of Kim Jong-Un, was murdered on February 13th, 2017 after being poisoned by a chemical weapon of mass destruction known as VX. While leaving for Macau, he was attacked by two women and died shortly after the poison was spread all over his face.


2017022700818_0.jpgDrawing showing how the assassination occurred in the airport. Image: Chosun Ilbo Newspaper

However, before the murder, he according to the Asahi Shimbun passed information to a foreign intelligence to a U.S. agent in Langkawi (Norikyo 1). He had over 100,000 US dollars in his backpack. It also had a Dell laptop with mass amounts of data that was transferred on to a USB. Evidence suggests the USB was passed on to the foreign intelligence.

Currently, there is a trial of four suspects in Malaysia and evidence suggests that there are connections with the North Korean government. Kim Jong-Nam had previously escaped three failed assassination attempts from the DPRK government as “there has been a standing order” for the murder (Choe, Paddock 1) according to Lee Byung-ho, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service . He was a threat to his half-brother’s political influence. Kim Jong-Nam, as an heir who supported unification and did not support the idea of a brutal dictatorship, was a political rival to Kim Jong-Un.

What could this assassination signify?

It actually means that there is some hope, because the animal farm may be toppling down in North Korea.

Unlike his grandfather or father, Kim Jong-Un’s regime currently focuses on fear as the main factor of his governance. Even his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was brutally stripped and fed to a pack of 120 dogs in public. Officials were executed with anti-aircraft machine guns for dozing in Congress. Now, his brother has been poisoned by a weapon of mass destruction. Nevertheless, once brutal violence is continuously used to gain power, a rebellion is starting to rise within the nation.

1488158056-148815778493408-3--copy-.jpgKim Jong-Nam lying down unconsciously on the Airport chair after being poisoned. Image: Enterprise News and Pictures

Indeed, there have been many signs of rebellion on the inside with all the leaking of confidential information. Many politicians have defected to South Korea, openly sharing details on North Korea. For example, Hwang Jang-Yop, the architect of the infrastructure of the Marxist-Leninism in North Korea (Juche), defected and later cooperated with the South Korean government. The deputy ambassador, Thae Yong Ho also defected to South Korea. He openly shared details on the diplomacy of North Korea. Now with Kim Jong Nam possibly sharing information with foreign intelligence in Langkawi, it is showing that many people in North Korea are willing to cooperate with others to bring down the dictatorship. The Kim regime may be finally falling down.

Yes, sir, it is morning in South Korea.

Works Cited

  1. “For many years, Kim Jong-nam had dodged assassination by his half-brother Kim Jong-un.” National Review, 20 Mar. 2017, p. 10. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  2. “Four sought in a global manhunt for Kim killers.” Australian [National, Australia], 20 Feb. 2017, p. 8. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  3. “Heng on the Investigation Into Kim Jong-nam’s Death.” New York Times, 27 Feb. 2017. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  4. “Kim Jong Il Family Photo.” The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – North Korea, European Pressphoto Agency, 27 Feb. 2017,
  5. “Kim Jong Nam Assassination Drawing.” The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – North Korea, Chosun Ilbo Newspaper Agency, 27 Feb. 2017,
  6. “Kim Jong Nam met Korean American before his murder, court told.” Herald [Glasgow, Scotland], 29 Jan. 2018. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  7. “Kim Jong-un’s brother killed at airport.” Age [Melbourne, Australia], 16 Feb. 2017, p. 13. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  8. “Kim Jong-un’s brother killed at airport.” Sydney Morning Herald [Sydney, Australia], 16 Feb. 2017, p. 13. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  9. “Kim Jong Un ‘ordered’ half brother’s killing, South Korean intelligence says.” CNN Wire, 27 Feb. 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  10. Morse, Felicity. “Kim Jong-Un’s Executed Uncle Jang Song Thaek ‘Stripped Naked, Fed to 120 Dogs as Officials Watched’.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 3 Jan. 2014,
  11. NORIKYO, MASATOMO. “Kim Jong Nam Thought to Have Met U.S. Agent Ahead of Slaying:The Asahi Shimbun.” The Asahi Shimbun, 13 May 2017,
  12. Sang-hun, Choe, and Richard C. Paddock. “Kim Jong-Nam, the Hunted Heir to a Dictator Who Met Death in Exile.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2017,
  13. Swenson, Kyle. “The gruesome nerve agent assassination of Kim Jong Un’s brother.” Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2017. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  14. Taylor, Adam. “Antidote Kim Jong Nam may have carried was probably useless against poison that killed him, experts say.” Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2017. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
  15. Vonow, Brittany. “Kim Jong Nam’s Death.” The Sun, Enterprise News and Pictures, 3 Oct. 2017,

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