Kim Jong-Nam's Body Returned to N. Korea: China

Cheryl Sanders
April 11, 2017

The move came after Malaysia and North Korea struck a deal this week to end a diplomatic stand-off over the February 13 murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.

"It's a win for North Korea", Daniel Pinkston, an global relations expert at South Korea's Troy University, told VICE News.

However, both men, namely the Second Secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Malaysia, Hyon Kwang-Song, 44, and the other who was an employee of North Korean Airline, Kim Uk-il, 37 had been interrogated by the police earlier.

Pilot Hasrizan Kamis said the crew dressed in civilian clothes as a "precautionary step" for the mission.

But a deal was reached to allow them to leave after Kim's regime reciprocated and took several Malaysian citizens hostage.

"But the fact we weren't allowed to travel home was concerning", he added.

"After we have clocked out, we could still see them working. It has not been compromised".

The deal largely ended a diplomatic battle that had also left more than 300 North Koreans stranded in Malaysia, but left questions about the status of Malaysia's investigation into the death of Kim, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

This story has been corrected to show that police say Kim Jong Nam was killed with nerve agent, not nerve gas.

Nine Malaysians who were previously barred from leaving North Korea were granted permission to return home and arrived in Kuala Lumpur early yesterday morning.

Malaysian police investigating what US and South Korean officials say it was an assassination carried out by North Korean agents took statements from the three before they were allowed to leave the country.

Police said they think the four returned to North Korea after fleeing Malaysia on the day of Kim's assassination.

In Pyongyang they had all the support that they could get, especially from Asean embassies, including Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

"Thae Yong Ho, who recently defected after serving as a diplomat in the United Kingdom, said Kim Jong Un is "desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his [development of] nuclear weapons and ICBM".

Media reports in Malaysia also said a third North Korean, Ri Ji U, who had been hiding with them at the North Korean embassy in the city, was also on board.

This prompted a war of words where North Korea's ambassador Kang Chol accused Malaysia of colluding with "hostile forces", allegations which Kuala Lumpur dubbed as "delusions, lies and half-truths".

At Friday's press conference, reporters pressed Khalid about which member or members of Kim's family had authorized, in a letter to the coroner, the body to be released, but he declined to say.

Malaysia's investigation has enraged North Korea. Malaysia cancels visa-free entry for North Koreans.

Both countries had banned each other's citizens from leaving. Malaysia issues reciprocal ban on North Koreans in Malaysia.

A red notice is the nearest equivalent to an global arrest warrant. "So far, there has been no response from North Korea on the four suspects", he said.

Other reports by iNewsToday