The facts as known
On February 13, 2017, as reported in the news, Kim Jong Nam, half brother of Kim Jong Un, was killed by a nerve agent in Malaysia.
News reports were thorough in their coverage of this, and the subsequent capture of two women who were ostensibly duped into thinking they were part of a TV prank.
Originally heir apparent to his father Kim Jong Il, he later was shunted aside and Kim Jong Un eventually took power.
Later, while out of North Korea, Kim Jong Nam would write a letter to Kim Jong Un, begging the north Korean leader to spare his life. So he knew his days were likely numbered. It was reported that Kim Jong Nam actually has the antidote to the nerve agent on him when he was killed, but did not use it when he was smeared in the Malaysian airport.
This is all known.
What has intrigued me about this case is why Kim Jong Un would want to kill his half brother.
It is commonly understood that Kim Jong Un has eliminated many people, included many close relatives, in his quest to remain in power. So, for being part of that group, it is not surprising that his half brother was targeted.
But since Kim Jong Nam lived outside of North Korea, hanging out in China and Macao, reputedly living the life of a playboy gambler, it is not clear why the need for assassination. Kim Jong Nam posed no threat.
Or maybe he did.
Thinking about the conditions which propel the North Korean situation to a standoff, one of the Chinese conditions is that there would be no Western-aligned nation directly on its border. So China is adamant that there be no quick unification East Germany-style with South Korea taking control. So what are some alternatives?
The plot thickens
It was recently reported that four days before he was murdered, Kim Jong Nam met with an unknown Korean-American who gave him (Kim Jong Nam) $138,000.00 in cash.
Let’s Make A Deal
It is possible to conceive of a deal, say, between China and the U.S., whereas China could possibly remove Kim Jong Un. But since the North Korean military and population is so inculcated into believing the Kim family are gods, no simple takeover would easily succeed.
It could easily be assumed that deposing Kim Jong Un and replacing him with someone else would precipitate a North Korean civil war. An expected result of such an event would be that millions of refugees stream into China, another thing China does not want (despite recently having built refugee camps on its North Korean border, as mentioned in the Guardian and in the N.Y. Times).
However, should a real Kim under China’s control be placed in power instead of Kim Jong Un, then things could proceed much more easily. Since Kim Jong Nam was initially his father’s heir apparent, it could go down easily enough as the “real” Kim. With a real but compliant Kim at the head, with American and/or Chinese aid, and the nukes could be disarmed, then all is well.
So eliminating errant family members thus becomes a critical survival operation for Kim Jong Un.
That’s The Conspiracy Theory of the day.
The post Why Would Kim Jong Un want to eliminate his half brother Kim Jong Nam? first appeared in Smile If You Dare.