Accused women were trained to kill N.Korean, Malaysian prosecutors say

Pompeo: N. Korea Understands US on 'Complete Denuclearization'

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader who had reportedly fallen out of favor, was killed by VX nerve agent that was rubbed into his face and eyes.

They initially claimed that they were duped into believing they were playing a harmless prank, but their defence has been dismissed as an "ingenious attempt to cover up their sinister plot".

Indonesia's Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam, who face the death penalty if convicted, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Kim in a crowded airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on February 13, 2017.

"It was not just a mere rubbing to the face like applying lotion on a face", he said, adding that Kim Chol had died of an acute VX nerve agent poisoning. "Only selected and trained individuals can ensure success".

Defence lawyers argue the women had no motive to kill Mr Kim but were innocent pawns in a high-profile political assassination by North Korea. "They're watching this hearing", he said.

Despite their claims of pranks, he said their facial expression and conduct during the attack did not reflect any humour.

But Mattis told his counterpart in Seoul: "The US commitment to the Republic of Korea remains ironclad", adding that included "maintaining the current US force levels on the Korean peninsula".

The women, in their 20s, deny murdering Kim.

In both Japan and South Korea - which are within reach of the North's proven short- and medium-range ballistic missiles - concern has been expressed that Washington could agree a deal that removed the threat against the U.S. mainland, such as the North giving up its ICBMS, while leaving them squarely in Pyongyang's firing line.

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The trial, which began previous year, resumed Wednesday after a break since early April, with lawyers from both sides making their final submissions.

Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said in his rebuttal to the prosecution that the case was based on "flimsy evidence" with many "doubts and gaps".

"If they are not trained to target the exact and precise target, they won't complete their mission", he said in his submissions at the end of the prosecution case.

"They also knew the eyes were the best route of entry and the deadly substance will have an efficient effect if it comes into contact with the eyes", he said.

Doan's lawyer Hisyam Teh Pok Teik in his separate submission said his client did not intend to cause the death of Kim and did not know that the liquid she applied to his face was risky. Four men who fled the country on the day of the assassination have been named by a police investigator.

"This type of assassination can only be seen in James Bond movies and the two girls were not randomly picked as a scapegoat".

Although the operation may have been planned by the North Korean suspects, Wan Shaharuddin said the women were the actual killers as they had executed the plan and directly caused Kim's death. Trial judge Azmi Ariffin set Aug 16 to rule on whether to acquit the women or call for them to enter their defense.

South Korea accused the North of masterminding the killing of Kim, who had been living in exile after falling out of favour with the ruling family in Pyongyang.

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