Kim Jong-un wanted his half-brother's assassination to be so "gruesome" that it would "horrify the rest of the world," an expert on North Korea has revealed.

The regime leader's estranged half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was allegedly murdered by two female assassins in Malaysia in February.

The assassins were captured on CCTV smearing a toxic nerve agent on Kim's face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. He died 20 minutes later.

The women, who did not conceal their faces, shocked the world with their brazen, public attack.

But South Korean intelligence analysts say that the public setting was chosen on purpose to assert Pyongyang's power and strike fear into the international community.

"This murder was all part of a master plan," Nam Sung-wook, a professor of politics and diplomacy at Korea University, told GQ magazine in an exclusive interview.

"Pyongyang wanted to send a worldwide message by murdering Kim Jong-nam in this gruesome, public way," Nam said. "Pyongyang wanted to horrify the rest of the world by releasing a chemical weapon at an airport.

"[Kim] wants to reign a long time and negotiate as a superpower. The only way to do that is to keep the world in fear of his weapons. He has a grand design, and this is part of it," he added.

Pyongyang has dismissed the autopsy findings and denied any involvement in Kim's assassination.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam, have been charged with Kim's murder. Their trial will begin on 2 October at the Shah Alam High Court in Kuala Lumpur. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

North Korea
Kim Jong-nam's "gruesome assassination was meant to horrify the rest of the world", according to North Korea expert Nam Sung-wook Reuters