The United States formally concluded Tuesday that North Korea murdered Kim Jong Un’s half-brother with the banned VX nerve agent, blasting Pyongyang for deploying a chemical weapon in a packed international airport. Kim Jong Nam died in February last year, shortly after two women sprayed his face with a liquid as he walked through Kuala Lumpur airport. The brazen daylight assassination unleashed diplomatic shockwaves and widespread condemnation of North Korea. The two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese national, are currently on trial in Malaysia where they are accused of using a nerve agent to murder Kim Jong Nam, who lived in exile in China and was seen as a potential rival to his younger half-brother. The two women say they were recruited to take part in what they thought were prank TV shows but were instead tricked into becoming inadvertent assassins, in an elaborate plot by a group of North Korean agents who then fled country. On Tuesday, Washington announced it had formally concluded that VX — an extremely powerful nerve agent — was used to conduct the slaying and that North Korea was to blame. “The Government of North Korea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we cannot afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind,” she added. The statement gave no details or evidence on how the US had come to their conclusion. Published in Daily Times, March 8th 2018.