Son of Kim Jong-nam Appears to Surface in YouTube Video
SEOUL, South Korea — The son of Kim Jong Nam — the slain half brother of North Korea’s leader — appears to have emerged in a YouTube clip indicating that his family has gone into hiding after his father’s killing last month.
“My father has been killed a few days ago,” the young man, who called himself Kim Han Sol, said in the video posted Tuesday. “I’m currently with my mother and my sister.”
In the 39-second video, the man shows what appears to be his North Korean passport as proof of his identity, but the particulars are blacked out.
“We hope this gets better soon,” he says before signing off.
The man was indeed Kim Han Sol, said Do Hee-youn, head of the Citizens’ Coalition for the Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, based in Seoul, who added that he had been monitoring Kim’s whereabouts for years.
总部位于首尔的“被绑架者和朝鲜难民人权公民联合会”(Citizens’ Coalition for the Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees)的负责人都熙渊(Do Hee-youn)表示，这个人确实是金韩松。他表示，自己多年来一直关注着金家人的行踪。
Jeong Joon-hee, a spokesman of the South’s Unification Ministry, said the government was trying to identify the man but noted, “it’s clear to everyone that the person closely resembles Kim Han Sol.” He declined to comment on Kim’s location.
The emergence of the video added an intriguing twist to the killing of Kim Jong Nam on Feb. 13. The Malaysian police have arrested two women who are accused of smearing Kim’s face with the nerve agent VX. Malaysia said the women were most likely recruited by several North Korean suspects.
North Korea has repeatedly denied involvement. On Tuesday, it said it was barring all Malaysians from leaving the country until there was a “fair settlement” of the dispute. Malaysia responded in kind, preventing all North Koreans from leaving Malaysia until the safety of Malaysians in North Korea could be assured.
The video was posted by a group called Cheollima Civil Defense, which said it focused on rescuing North Korean defectors and refugees.
该视频是由“千里马民防”(Cheollima Civil Defense)组织发布的。该组织自称专注于拯救朝鲜逃亡者和难民。
On its website, the group said it had responded last month to “an emergency request by survivors of the family of Kim Jong Nam for extraction and protection.”
“The three family members were met quickly and relocated to safety,” the group said. “This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed.”
Jeong and Do said they had not previously heard of the group.
“This video means that Kim Han Sol’s family is in safety and working together with this group, whoever they are, to attack the North Korean government,” said Do, an activist who has helped North Korean refugees for years.
The group thanked the countries that it said had provided “emergency humanitarian assistance” in its efforts to protect the Kim family: China, the Netherlands, the United States and another nation it did not identify. In particular, it thanked A.J.A. Embrechts, the Dutch ambassador to South Korea, “for his timely and strong response to our sudden request for assistance.”
The Dutch Embassy did not immediately comment. The U.S. Embassy also did not comment.
Kim Han Sol was born in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in 1995 but has spent most of his life abroad, living with his father in Macau, and attending schools in Bosnia and France.
Speaking to a European broadcaster in 2012, Kim Han Sol said he had never met his uncle Kim Jong Un, the current leader of North Korea, or his grandfather Kim Jong Il, who ruled the North until his death in 2011. In the same interview, Kim Han Sol said he did not know how his uncle had become a “dictator.”
His father, Kim Jong Nam, had been sidelined from the center of power in North Korea for years as his influential stepmother, Ko Young Hee, the mother of Kim Jong Un, saw him as a potential threat.
North Korea remains in a standoff with Malaysia over the handling of the killing and the tit-for-tat bans on Tuesday that prohibit the departure of Malaysians from North Korea and North Koreans from Malaysia.
In Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia said Wednesday that he did not intend to break off diplomatic relations with North Korea despite its decision Tuesday to bar Malaysians from leaving.
Najib said that it was important to maintain communication with the North and that he was trying to determine what the reclusive country wanted in exchange for the release of Malaysians in North Korea.
“You need to have a channel to talk to them, to negotiate with them,” he said, according to the Malaysian news site The Star Online. “In the meantime, we need to examine what is the need of the North Korean government. That is what we have to be sure of.”
Officials in Malaysia have said 11 of its citizens, including embassy staff, family members and U.N. workers, are in North Korea. About 1,000 North Koreans are now in Malaysia.