North Korea is said to have offered an informal apology to Vietnam for involving a Vietnamese national in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“I heard that North Korea informally expressed regret to Vietnam about involving a Vietnamese woman in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam,” a source with knowledge of the situation in Vietnam told reporters Tuesday.
The apology, albeit informal, could indicate the involvement of the Kim Jong-un regime in the killing of Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February 2017. Pyongyang has formally denied any involvement.
A man identified as Ri Ji-hyon, the son of a North Korean diplomat, reportedly lured one of the suspects -- Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam -- into participating in the murder scheme.
Siti Aisyah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Houng are on trial for murder. They are suspected of rubbing a toxic VX nerve agent on Kim’s face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Both have pleaded not guilty, saying they thought they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show, and did not know the colorless, odorless VX was harmful.
North Korea’s relations with Vietnam, which soured in the aftermath of the assassination, have been restored to some extent since the apology, according to the source.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho visited Vietnam from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. to discuss bilateral ties with top Vietnamese officials, according to the North’s state media.