Half-brother of Kim Jong-un assassinated in Malaysia

Malaysian police have confirmed that Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Monday (13 February) morning at about 9am local time.

South Korean media, quoting unidentified government sources in Seoul, as saying the half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was attacked by two women with poison needles. Lee was assassinated on South Korean soil in 1997.

Following his father's death in December the following year, Kim's comments about his younger brother's ability to maintain "absolute power" to a Japanese journalist singled him out as his most vocal, and high profile, critic. In 2016, however, Kim Jong-un's aunt, who has lived in the U.S. for almost two decades, told The Washington Post that the younger son had been designated the next leader when he was still a child.

Kim Jong Nam's father was former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

United States authorities have not yet determined exactly how Kim Jong Nam was killed, according to a United States source. However, in 2001 he fell out of favor after he was seized by Japanese authorities at Narita Airport, accompanied by a boy identified as his son, for trying to enter the country on a forged Dominican Republic passport.

"I think we can speculate that Kim Jong-nam was the only other living pretender to the throne".

He said Seoul should "urge the Malaysian government to promptly identify the truth of the case and present it to the global community". At the time he told those questioning him that he had simply travelled to Japan to visit Disneyland.

Kim Jong-nam was the the eldest son of Kim Jong-il. There are unsubstantiated reports circulating that Kim Jong Nam may have been attacked.

USA officials reportedly suspect that Kim's murder this week was a political assassination, ordered by Kim Jong-un.

Since then, according to the Post, analysts had suspected that China had been keeping the elder brother as a possible replacement for Kim Jong-un, should relations between the two countries continue becoming further strained.

Jong-Un has been trying to strengthen his grip on power in the face of growing global pressure over his country's nuclear and missile programmes. His younger brother, Kim Jong Un, was instead heralded as the "Great Successor". "Personally, I am against third-generation succession", he told Japan's Asahi TV in 2010. Previous reports of executions and purges involving people deemed to be enemies of the North Korean regime - including those emanating from South Korean intelligence - have proved unreliable.

Kim Jong Nam's first cousin and childhood playmate, a defector, was shot outside his home in South Korea in 1997.