A man claiming to be the son of Kim Jong-nam, the slain half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has appeared in a YouTube video saying he is safe with his mother and sister.
Kim Jong-nam was killed by two women who rubbed a prohibited nerve agent on his face at an airport in Malaysia on Feb. 13, according to Malaysian police.
Kim Jong-un was widely suspected to be behind his brother’s murder to eliminate a potential challenger to his rule.
There have been worries about the safety of Kim Jong-nam’s son, Kim Han-sol, who described his uncle as a “dictator” during a rare 2012 interview with Finnish television.
“My name is Kim Han-sol from North Korea, part of the Kim family,” the man says in English in the 40-second YouTube clip uploaded yesterday. “My father has been killed a few days ago. I’m currently with my mother and my sister... We hope this gets better soon.”
An official at South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said the agency had determined that the man in the video is Kim Han-sol. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules, did not explain how his agency confirmed the man’s identity.
The agency has a spotty record on reporting developments in North Korea, but a private voice analysis institute in Seoul said there was a “high probability” that Kim Han-sol in the 2012 interview, which can also be found on YouTube, and the man in the latest video clip were the same speaker.
“It’s right to determine they are the same person,” said Lee Cheul-houng, head of the Transcription Analysis Laboratory.
The man in the latest video does not talk about the whereabouts of his family or how they were being protected. The video was posted on the YouTube channel of Cheollima Civil Defense, which describes itself as a group helping North Korean defectors.
The group said on its Web site that it responded to an “emergency request” last month by three members of Kim Jong-nam’s family and relocated them to safety.
The group expressed gratitude to the Netherlands, China, the US and a “fourth government to remain unnamed” for providing assistance in protecting the three.
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