Malaysian authorities announced March 1, 2017, that they had brought charges against the two women who had been arrested on February 13 for the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Siti Aisyah, 25, of Indonesia, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, of Vietnam, are accused of using a water gun to poison Kim with a deadly nerve agent, called Agent VX.
Simultaneously, the North Korean government has sent diplomatic delegations to Beijing and Kuala Lumpur in an effort to repair the damage caused by the assassination. The North Korean diplomats sent to Kuala Lumpur include the former deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ri Dong-il; a key objective of the delegation is securing the release of Mr. Kim’s body to North Korea. The delegation to Beijing includes a high-ranking official in Vice Foreign Minister Ri Gil-song — earlier this week, the North Korean government condemned the Chinese government’s decision to adhere to the sanctions regime imposed on the purchase of North Korean coal by the UN.
In addition to the arrests of Aisyah and Huong, Malaysian authorities have also arrested Ri Jong-chol, a North Korean national, and are said to be seeking seven other North Koreans for their involvement in the assassination. There has been widespread speculation, and accusations from the South Korean government, that the killing of Kim Jong-Nam was orchestrated by the North Korean government at the behest of Kim Jong-Un in an effort to consolidate power. There is no word on whether the Malaysian government intends to levy charges on Ri or the seven others suspected of involvement.