The U.S. State Department today announced the United States has determined that the North Korean government used chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Un's half-brother.
Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, was killed on February 13, 2017 in Malaysia.
The State Department says it will impose additional sanctions on North Korea over the assassination. The announcement from a Trump administration spokesperson for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came just hours after North Korea agreed to denuclearization talks with the United States, the result of weeks of talks with South Korean envoys following the Olympic games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
From the Associated Press:
The United States has determined that North Korea used chemical weapons, an apparent reference to the killing of leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother last year.
The State Department did not provide justification for the finding publicized Friday. But it comes nearly one year after Kim Jong Nam died at an international airport in Malaysia in an attack authorities said used VX nerve agent.
The determination, made by the department's international security and nonproliferation bureau, carries restrictions on U.S. foreign aid and financial and military assistance that North Korea's heavily sanctioned government is already subject to.
It was posted on the website of the Federal Register and takes effect Monday.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has previously referred to Pyongyang's use of chemical weapons. He told reporters in January, "we know they've been used by the North Koreans."
According to the Pentagon, North Korea probably has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood, and choking agents and likely possesses a chemical weapons stockpile that could be used with artillery and ballistic missiles.
.@statedeptspox: "On February 22, 2018, the United States determined under the Chemical & 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"
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) March 7, 2018
#BREAKING US finds North Korea killed Kim brother with VX agent
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 7, 2018
JUST IN: U.S. State Department says U.S. has determined that North Korean government used chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate half-brother of Kim Jong Un in Malaysia in 2017 pic.twitter.com/iVCbBZ1FDI
— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) March 7, 2018