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N Korea asks again, how did duo survive contact with VX nerve agent?
Published:  Mar 2, 2017 6:40 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2017 2:26 AM

The North Korean high-level delegation to Malaysia wants to know how the two women who had purportedly killed Kim Jong-nam using the highly toxic substance VX nerve agent could survive.

Kim, who was travelling using a North Korean passport under the name "Kim Chol", died on Feb 13 at KLIA2 after a chemical substance was used on him.

Citing “international chemical experts”, Ri Ton-il, former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, who is part of the delegation, in a press conference today, pointed out how the two women had used their bare hands to contain the material before applying it on the victim’s face.

“The world’s greatest question is again, the question of the two ladies – they are the ones who directly contained the liquid on the palms of their hands to apply to the face.

“They are the first ones to have contact with this material while the victim died - how did they survive?”

Ri, who read out a statement during the press conference held outside the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur today, also pointed out how no one except the victim was affected by the nerve agent despite the tens of thousands of people at the airport.

“And everybody knows and should know the nature of this toxic material – that it is extremely toxic - that’s why it was categorised as a chemical weapon by the Organisation of Prohibition Chemcical Weapon (OPCW).

“It (also) has great penetration power - instant death as soon as it comes to contact with the body and air and one that comes into contact with it is instantly doomed to die.”

Again citing international chemical experts, Ri argued that the samples should then be sent to the OPCW.

“And in case it is approved by two separate international laboratories with the same conclusion, then they should come to identify who was the one who made it, who was the one who brought it into Malaysia (and) who was the one who passed on the material to the two ladies.”

Meanwhile, Ri also questioned South Korea whom he said had insisted that North Korea had sent the two women to Malaysia with the toxic material to be used against the victim.

“And one comes to ask this question - how did South Korean authorities come to know from the beginning of this incident, alleging about the use of chemical weapon from the beginning?

“Even North Korea had no idea on the first day of the announcement of the report but South Korean authorities announced on the very same day when this occurred.

“It means they knew this incident from the beginning and from a long time ago, they already knew this incident will occur,” added Ri.

Ri, earlier on during the press conference, had also confirmed that the delegation has had meetings with related cabinet members to “settle the humanitarian issue”.

Among them is in relation to the return of the deceased’s body to North Korea, the release of a North Korean suspect who was arrested and discussions on friendly relations between North Korea and Malaysia.

The delegation, added Ri, had also requested to view the body of the deceased as well as to have a meeting with the North Korean man arrested and the two female assailants as well.

“We are waiting for these meetings to be realised,” he said.

Meanwhile, US former assistant secretary of state was quoted by US news portal Politico that North Korea's use of VX nerve agent raises concern that the substance may also fall into the hands of terrorists.

"The spectre of chemical weapons proliferation, of VX in the hands of terrorists, now looms ever larger," he was quoted as saying.

Both the US and South Korea have accused North Korea of orchestrating Jong-nam's murder with the chemical weapon.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, were yesterday charged with Kim's murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code and if found guilty, they will face the death penalty.

Police said that the North Korean suspect in custody would be deported. They have described four North Korean men as the "main suspects" but they have reportedly since fled the country.