Malaysia releases body of Kim Jong Nam to North Korea

Cheryl Sanders
April 13, 2017

March 31: Nine Malaysians who were stranded in North Korea following a diplomatic stand-off post the assassination of Kim Jong -Un's half brother Kim Jong- Nam, have arrived in Kuala Lumpur.

The police error did have a silver lining: It enabled Seoul to quickly inform Kuala Lumpur the dead man was probably Kim Jong Nam, half brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Following the development, the prime minister said Malaysia had now allowed North Korean citizens in the country to leave.

Japanese news agency Kyodo said two men resembling two wanted North Koreans were seen on a Beijing-bound flight transporting Mr Kim's body on Friday.

Kim Jong Nam was killed in Kuala Lumpur International airport on February 13 in a freakish assassination using VX nerve agent.

North Korea had requested the body, but has not confirmed its identity.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is now on an official visit in India, issued a statement announcing the return of the body, but did not mention Kim by name.

Early yesterday, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman greeted the nine Malaysians at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport after the tense exchange.

Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korea's unpredictable leader Kim Jong-un, was killed at the airport on February 13th in an incident involving VX nerve agent, a chemical so lethal the United Nations has listed it as a weapon of mass destruction. Najib said in a statement that Malaysia would also "allow North Koreans to leave Malaysia" as part of the agreement.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the murder of Kim, who it is still referring to as Kim Chol, which was the name on the victim's diplomatic passport.

Malaysian authorities had sought to question eight North Koreans over the killing, five of whom had already returned home and the remaining three who were until recently holed up in the country's embassy in Malaysia.

However, Malaysian police used a DNA sample to establish the victim was Kim Jong-nam.

Mr Najib said the North Korean side had at first made demands that could not be met, and even contacted the Malaysian side in the wee hours of the morning.

"I want to stress that the police will not close this murder case as long as we have not recorded statements from the four suspects".

He was killed in a busy terminal at Kuala Lumper International Airport in February.

Kim Jong Nam had been living with his wife and children in exile in Macau and was estranged from his half-brother, Kim Jong Un, who reportedly had issued a standing order for his execution.

Malaysia has not directly blamed North Korea for the killing, but there is widespread suspicion that Pyongyang was responsible.

"They will likely use the body to claim they were not responsible and tell an alternative narrative", said Professor Bridget Welsh, an expert on South-east Asian politics.

But Thae maintained that the way to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue is to eliminate the country's dictator.

Malaysia said the four men were at the airport on the day Mr Kim was killed and had since left the country.

Other reports by iNewsToday