• Workers union grieve the death of Kim Jong-nam.

Workers union grieve the death of Kim Jong-nam. (Photo : Getty Images)

The half-brother of Kim Jong Un was murdered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by three suspected Asian women. He was on his way to visit his family in Macau.

There has been no next of kin that has come forward to claim the body. The Malaysian government has asked the family of Kim Jong Un to come forward so the government can complete their investigation.

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Since the murder, China and the U.S. are put in an uneasy position. The two superpowers have been criticizing the socialist country on nuclear arms testing.

Despite the criticism, Kim Jong-nam's two families in Beijing and Macau have received protection from China. North Korea has been importing heavily from China, making the two countries tight trade partners.

However, trade between North Korea and China have decreased in the past two years. Total imports from China totaled to $5.4 billion in 2016.

Deng Yuwen, a public affairs commentator in Beijing, said, "Kim Jong Un has been testing China's patience."

He added, "Beijing wouldn't want to see the total collapse of the Kim regime, it would hope for the replacement of Kim Jong Un. This is why Kim was increasingly worried about his half-brother."

Analysts also said that China will not totally abandon its relations with North Korea since the country's geophysical location is strategic to its position to the U.S.

Yang Xiyu, former director of the China Foreign Ministry's Office for Korean Peninsula Issues, added that the murder of Kim Jong Un's half-brother signifies a weakness in North Korea's internal politics and China will use this as leverage.

He said, "It becomes even harder for China to restrain North Korea with a delicate bilateral relation like this. Beijing won't be happy with the death of Kim Jong-nam, but it will not overact either."

China is also opposed to North Korea's plan to deploy nuclear weapons, and an opportunity to enhance a military partnership between China and the U.S.

Shi Yongming, an associate researcher from the China Institute for International Studies, said, "If the U.S. side really treats the Korea peninsula as one of its top international priorities, there is a lot of room for the Chinese-U.S. cooperation."