Kim Jong-un's half-brother Kim Jong-nam was Central Intelligence Agency informant

DONG DANG VIETNAM- MARCH 02 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves as he prepares to leave Vietnam by train after a two day official visit preceded by the DPRK-USA Hanoi summit

Two women were charged with poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. However, the unnamed officials who revealed his involvement to the Journal noted that American spies did not consider him of great value as either an intelligence source or a potential replacement for his half-brother.

The Journal source said that Kim had travelled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet his Central Intelligence Agency contact, although this may not have been the sole reason for the trip.

The group said 83% of a sample of 84 surveyed people had witnessed a public execution at some time, but it did not give specific data on how common such executions might be, or whether they were getting more or less frequent.

Pyongyang has always been accused of using state killings to instil fear among its population, and leader Kim Jong Un has executed top aides in the past - including his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, in 2013.

Kim was also "almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China's".

A worker is seen on a tree next to a banner showing North Korean and U.S. flags ahead of the North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 25, 2019.

North Korea, under Kim Jong Un, is accused of using public executions as a means to keeping its population in a state of fear.

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Multiple former USA officials believe that other countries saw Kim as Kim Jong-un's potential successor, although US intelligence agencies found that Kim would not succeed in becoming the leader of North Korea, according to WSJ.

North Korean state media called on the USA on Tuesday to "withdraw its hostile policy" towards Pyongyang.

Kim gained a reputation as somewhat of a playboy when studying overseas, and lost his father's support after being arrested trying to travel to Disneyland in Tokyo on a fake Chinese passport.

But US intelligence agencies concluded that Kim Jong-nam was ill-suited to fill such a role, several former US officials said.

The two women who carried out the assassination have now been released. Malaysia released Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese, in May, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah in March.

Based on interviews with 610 escapees from Kim Jong-Un's dictatorship, the authors claim they mapped 323 reports of state-sanctioned killings across 318 sites.

North Korea denied being involved; the USA and South Korean officials claimed the regime was responsible. The insiders say Kim, who was based in the Chinese territory of Macau, had met with a Korean-American agent at a hotel on the Malaysia's Langkawi Island though it may not have been the main reason for his trip to the country.

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