Kim Jong-Nam's body returned to North Korea as suspects released

Cheryl Sanders
April 1, 2017

North Korea's retrieval of the body of the assassinated half brother of leader Kim Jong-un is aimed at destroying evidence of the regime's involvement in the brutal killing, analysts say.

Malaysian police investigating what United States 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.

"We have obtained whatever we wanted from them" and are "satisfied" with the statements, Khalid Abu Bakar said.

On February 13, two foreign women daubed Jong-nam's face with VX nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) while he was waiting for a flight to Macau.

Malaysian authorities released Kim's body on Thursday in a deal that secured the release of nine Malaysian citizens held in Pyongyang after a drawn out diplomatic spat. "They have assisted us and they have been allowed to leave".

North Korea imports rubber, palm oil and refined oil from Malaysia, and there are hundreds of North Koreans working in the mining and restaurant sectors in Malaysia.

Malaysian prosecutors have charged an Indonesian and a Vietnamese national, both women, in killing Kim Jong Nam.

South Korean politicians claimed Kim Jong Un had issued a "standing order" for his half-brother's assassination and there was a failed attempt in 2012. "The other is thought to be Kim Uk Il, an employee of North Korea's state-owned airline".

Though there was no official confirmation of their departure the men were identifiable from handouts released by the Malaysian police during their investigation.

A group of North Korean officials returned home to Pyongyang on Friday March 31, after being allowed to leave Malaysia in a swap deal between the two countries.

North Korea retaliated by expelling Malaysian Ambassador in Pyongyang.

Malaysia will not cut diplomatic ties with North Korea as the hostage crisis issue is deemed to have ended, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"We have obtained whatever we wanted from them", Mr Khalid told reporters.

"It will harm the relationship between the two countries", he said.

North Korea has maintained that the dead man is not Kim Jong Nam and that the body is that of Kim Chol, the name given in a passport found on the victim. Malaysia on Thursday agreed to release the body of Kim Jong-nam.

Instead of labelling him as "not a rational actor", which is what U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley did, or a "crazy fat kid", in the words of Senator John McCain, the world might be better advised to recognise Kim Jong-un's success in single-mindedly pursuing his own interests.

Using a DNA sample, Malaysian police have established that the victim was Kim Jong Nam.

The swap agreement brings to an end a diplomatic standoff that has lasted almost seven weeks.

Although Malaysia has never directly accused North Korea of carrying out the attack, speculation is rampant that it orchestrated a hit on a long-exiled member of its ruling elite.

Lieutenant-colonel Hasrizan Kamis, who was among the team involved in the rescue mission on Thursday, said that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) crew, which consisted of two pilots, two co-pilots and two quartermasters, were all clad in casual attire instead of their uniforms.

Some analysts say the North will be very discreet about the handling of Kim's body to keep the truth of the incident a secret from its own citizens.

Other reports by iNewsToday