The U.S. hit North Korea with new sanctions for the regime’s role in a high-profile assassination with a banned chemical weapon at an international airport in Malaysia.
“The United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 that the Government of North Korea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday, pinning Kim Jong-un’s older half-brother’s murder on the rogue regime in Pyongyang.
North Korean agents are suspected of providing the deadly chemical agent that killed Kim — two women from Indonesia and Vietnam carried out the assassination and are currently on trial — are widely believed to have orchestrated the hit.
North Korea denies assertions it is in possession of banned chemical weapons.
“North Korea probably has a chemical warfare (CW) program with up to several thousand metric tons of chemical warfare agents and the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood, and choking agents,” the Defense Intelligence Agency argued.
“North Korea may possess between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of [chemical warfare] agents,” the Nuclear Threat Initiative reported. “The South Korean government assesses that North Korea is able to produce most types of chemical weapons indigenously, although it must import some precursors to produce nerve agents, which it has done in the past. At maximum capacity, North Korea is estimated to be capable of producing up to 12,000 tons of [chemical weapons]. Nerve agents such as Sarin and VX are thought be to be the focus of North Korean production.”
Kim Jong-nam, an exiled Kim regime critic, long suspected his brother wanted to kill him.
“The United States strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons to conduct an assassination,” the Department of State explained. “This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we cannot afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind.”
Kim Jong-nam’s murder apparently played a role in President Donald Trump’s decision to re-designate North Korea a state sponsor of terror.
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