East Asia Summit to slam murder of Kim Jong-Nam

MANILA, Philippines – The East Asia Summit (EAS) is set to "denounce" the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as EAS leaders seek to ban the use of chemical weapons.

A draft statement of EAS leaders said they "denounce the chemical weapon incident involving the nerve agent VX in Kuala Lumpur on 13 February 2017 that posed great risk to public safety and security."

The draft did not specify this incident and did not name any personality, but the circumstances point to the death of Kim Jong-Nam in Kuala Lumpur on February 13, allegedly im the hands of North Korean agents.

Kim, 45, was assassinated with a lethal nerve agent manufactured for chemical warfare, the Malaysian police said. They also revealed the poison used by the assassins was the odorless, tasteless and highly toxic VX.

This EAS statement on chemical weapons is expected to be signed in Manila on Tuesday, November 14.  

The EAS is composed of the heads of state and government of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.

Prohibiting chemical weapons

The statement on chemical weapons is set to be released on the 12th EAS, which is part of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits hosted by the Philippines.

In this statement, the EAS leaders also reaffirmed their "commitment to the principles of: "destruction of chemical weapons; non-proliferation of chemical weapons; assistance and protection of states threatened by the use of, or attacked by, chemical weapons; and the pursuit of chemistry for peaceful purposes."

The EAS leaders made a call as well to "prohibit the use of chemical weapons and toxic materials as weapons anywhere by anyone under any circumstances." 

The Manila summits will produce outcome documents on issues such as terrorism, cybercrime, and malnutrition.

A "centerpiece" of the Philippines' chairmanship of ASEAN, said Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar, is a consensus on the rights of migrant workers.  

Drawing at least 20 world leaders, the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits "is the largest gathering of world leaders that the Philippines will be hosting during this chairmanship year," Bolivar said. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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