U.S. officials said the killing of Kim Jong Nam – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother – was a result of chemical warfare by North Korea.
Nam was killed when two women smeared VX, a chemical nerve agent, on him at the Kuala Lumpir’s international terminal on Feb. 13, 2017.
In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department called the murder an “assassination.”
READ MORE: What is VX nerve agent, the deadly chemical used to kill Kim Jong Nam?
“On February 22, 2018, the United States determined under the Chemical & Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 that the Government of North Korea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport,” a statement from the State Department read.
“This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea.”
The U.S. will be imposing further sanctions on North Korea because of the assassination.
The announcement from the State Department comes as North Korea has said it is willing to talk about abandoning its nuclear weapons program.
READ MORE: Tensions ease on Korean peninsula — but experts still wary about North’s nuclear weapons
The women accused in Nam’s murder have said they thought they were involved in a TV show that was pranking unsuspecting people. They said they didn’t know they were handling poison.
At the time, North Korean officials said Nam likely died of a heart attack, not the VX nerve agent.
Nam was mostly estranged from his family, and Kim Jong Un was picked over him to be successor to their father, Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Nam was known to spend a significant amount of his time outside North Korea and had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated state.
*with a file from the Associated Press
WATCH: Previous news coverage of Kim Jong Nam’s death
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