A mystery video of Kim Jong-nam’s son has emerged amid investigation of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s murder.
In the short and censored clip, the young man says: “My name is Kim Han-sol, from North Korea, part of the Kim family.”
Kim Jan-sol says he is with his mother and sister, but there are no details on the date or location. It’s the Kim family’s first public comment since Kim Jong-nam’s assassination in Malaysia.
Kim Jong-nam was killed in a Kuala Lumpur airport on February13 by attackers who smeared his face with VX nerve agent.
Officials at South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service have confirmed that the man in the video is Kim Han-sol.
The 40-second clip features the man identified as Kim Han-sol sitting against a grey wall. In perfect, slightly accented English, he introduces himself and says: “My father has been killed a few days ago. I’m currently with my mother and my sister.”
Kim Han-sol shows what appears to be a North Korean diplomatic passport to confirm his identity, though the details have been blocked out, and says he is “grateful to…” before the audio and image are censored.
The man ends by saying: “We hope this gets better soon.”
As Kim Jong-nam was killed last month, it is unclear when and where the video was filmed, and what Kim Han-sol’s current whereabouts are.
The video was put online by a group called the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) – they have not previously been heard of, and appear to have registered a website and YouTube account only recently.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the group presumably assists escaping North Koreans – there is a town south-west of Pyongyang named Cheollima. They sent the video link to the Malaysia correspondent for Channel News Asia.
A message in English on the CCD site said it had responded to a request for protection from “survivors of the family of Kim Jong-nam”.
“We have in the past addressed other urgent needs for protection. This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed.”
The group also thanked several countries for offering emergency humanitarian assistance, including the Netherlands, China and the US and “a fourth government to remain unnamed”, while giving particular thanks to the Netherlands ambassador in South Korea, AJA Embrechts.
Kim Han-sol is believed to be 21, and has lived a low-profile life since his father’s exile, growing up in Macau and China.
In 2012, Kim Han-sol appeared in a TV interview for Finnish TV from Bosnia, where he was studying, saying he had never met his powerful uncle or his grandfather, the late Kim Jong-il.
Kim Han-sol said he had “always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people” of North Korea.