World

'Absurd' that VX used to kill Kim: N. Korea

SEOUL: North Korea yesterday poured scorn on "absurd" claims that one of its citizens was killed in Malaysia with a highly lethal nerve agent, accusing South Korea and the United States of running a smear campaign.

Malaysian police said two women used the VX agent to kill Mr Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of the North's leader, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

South Korea said North Korea engaged two outsiders to carry out the attack.

The North, in a dispatch on the official KCNA news agency, identified the victim as Kim Chol, the name under which Mr Kim was travelling.

It was "the height of absurdity to claim that the person who applied VX, a substance fatal to the life even in case of inhalation of a tiny amount of it or its touch of skin, was left unaffected and the person to whom it was applied met a death," KCNA cited unidentified experts as saying.

It said the arrested women had visited South Korea several times in the past and it was "highly possible" that Seoul allowed them to carry whatever substance was used.

It also claimed that the US was introducing "all kinds of chemical weapons" into South Korea.

"This being a hard fact, the US and the South Korean authorities are kicking up an anti-DPRK (North Korea) smear campaign, groundlessly pulling it up," it said.

The US was trying "to stir up international repugnancy towards the DPRK, lay an international siege for putting pressure on it and provoke a nuclear war against the DPRK at any cost," it added. - AFP

North KoreaSouth KoreaMurder