Kim Jong-un's half-brother Kim Jong-nam was CIA informant: Report

Kim Jong-nam

Seoul: Kim Jong-nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, was an informant for the CIA whose operatives met him on several occasions, according to a media report.

Kim was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2017 when two women smeared his face with what appeared to be a nerve gas. After reporting the incident to airport officials, he was rushed to the hospital but died in the ambulance.

South Korean and US officials have said North Korean authorities ordered the assassination of Kim, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

Details of the exact relationship between Kim and the CIA remain unclear.

The CIA operatives had met with Kim, 45, on several occasions, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

He travelled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet with his CIA contact, though it remains uncertain as to whether or not that was the sole purpose of the trip.

Kim lived primarily outside North Korea, usually residing just outside of China in Macau. Reports said he was providing intelligence to several other countries. China was named specifically as a beneficiary of information.

The newspaper cited an unnamed "person knowledgeable about the matter" for the report.

"There was a nexus" between the CIA and Kim, the report said.

Two women were charged with poisoning Kim by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon. Malaysia released Indonesian Siti Aisyah in March and Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese, in May.

The Wall Street Journal said: "Several former US officials said the half-brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country's inner workings.”

US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore in June last year.

Early optimism that the leaders' personal rapport would lead to a deal on denuclearisation weakened after their most recent talks ended without an agreement and competing accounts of why the summit ended in disarray.

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