US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated on 6 March the imposition of new severe sanctions against the Pyongyang government of Kim Jong-un, for the use of nerve gas in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the leader’s half-brother, that took place last year. In a brutal attack, two women allegedly smeared the VX chemical agent on Jong-nam’s face in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, on February 13, 2017.
On February 22, the United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 that the Government of #NorthKorea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport. pic.twitter.com/sxsjeUxTFJ
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) March 7, 2018
This was released almost at the same time as speculation started to increase on the success of existing sanctions, since North and South Korea have recently begun what appears to be an unprecedented rapprochement in their relations, even extending to the North’s expression of willingness to abandon its nuclear weapons arsenal, as reported by South Korean officials on Tuesday March 6th.
The level of sanctions is reported to be already so strict that anything new is almost symbolic at this point, and it remains to be seen what will come of the current talks.