Woman accused of killing Kim Jong Un's brother to be freed

Sergio Conner
April 17, 2019

A court in Malaysia is expected to release the Vietnamese national accused of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's stepbrother on May 3 after she agreed to plead guilty to a "lesser charge", her lawyer told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Special to The Yomiuri ShimbunIn the wake of the failed Hanoi summit meeting in February, the US -led worldwide coalition is strengthening the economic sanctions program directed at North Korea. In a speech to Pyongyang's rubber-stamp parliament on Friday, Kim said the Hanoi meeting had made him question whether Washington is "genuinely interested" in improving its relations with Pyongyang. Trump and Kim met again in Vietnam in February, but the meeting collapsed over what the Americans saw as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for limited disarmament steps. "The big deal is we have to get rid of the nuclear weapons", Trump explained.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said earlier, citing sources in Moscow, that Kim Jong-un might visit Russian Federation next week.

But the pair always maintained they were innocent pawns in a plan hatched by North Korea and believed they were carrying out pranks for a reality TV show.

According to the news agency, that trip is related to preparations for the North Korean leader's visit to Russian Federation.

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"Chances are fairly high that a summit between Russian Federation and North Korea could take place around that time", a source told Yonhap.

During a speech at the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim gave US President Donald Trump a deadline of until the end of this year for a third summit, and urged the Trump administration to change its stance toward the regime and its denuclearization.

But Moon did not specifically respond to Kim's criticism that South Korea was too subservient to the "anachronistic arrogance and hostile policy of the United States", and that the South's military persisted in "veiled hostility" by conducting exercises with US forces.

North Korea uses the phrase "hostile policy" to reference any range of behaviors and actions by the United States.

While North Korea and the United States have been discussing the North's denuclearization, US ally South Korea has been taking steps to improve its ties with its old rival. Experts said this could be a sign of his desire to keep recent months of up-and-down nuclear diplomacy alive rather than returning to the threats and weapons tests that characterized 2017, when many feared possible war on the Korean Peninsula.

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