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Kuala Lumpur
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half brother was assassinated with a lethal nerve agent manufactured for chemical warfare and listed by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction, Malaysian police said on Friday.
Releasing a preliminary toxicology report on Kim Jong-Nam's murder at Kuala Lumpur airport, police revealed the poison used by the assassins was the odourless, tasteless and highly toxic VX.
The news brought condemnation from South Korea, which slammed the use of the nerve agent as a"blatant violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and other international norms".
Experts in the South said Friday that North Korea has up to 5,000 tonnes of chemical weapons stockpiled, including a supply of VX.
Kim died on February 13 after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport by two women, who are seen on CCTV footage shoving something in his face.
He suffered a seizure and was dead before he reached hospital.
An autopsy revealed traces of VX -- a fast-acting toxin that sparks respiratory collapse and heart failure -- on the dead man's face and in his eyes.
Tiny amounts of the poison are enough to kill an adult, whether it is inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
"I am outraged that the criminals used such a dangerous chemical in a public area," said Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar
It"could have caused mass injuries or even death to other people".
One of the two women arrested after the attack fell ill in custody, police said, adding she had been vomiting.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar has previously said the woman who attacked Kim from behind clearly knew she was carrying out a poison attack, dismissing claims that she thought she was taking part in a TV prank.
"The lady was moving away with her hands towards the bathroom," Khalid said earlier this week.
"She was very aware that it was toxic and that she needed to wash her hands."
Khalid said on Friday experts would sweep the busy airport terminal where the Cold War-era attack took place for traces of the toxin as well as other locations the women had visited.
"We are investigating how (the VX) entered the country," he told reporters.
However he added that"if the amount of the chemical brought in was small, it would be difficult for us to detect".
A leading regional security expert told AFP it would not have been difficult to get VX into Malaysia in a diplomatic pouch, which are not subject to regular customs checks.
North Korea has previously used the pouches"to smuggle items including contraband and items that would be subjected to scrutiny if regular travel channels were used", said Rohan Gunaratna, the head of the Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.
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