Last Update 14:56
Sunday, 15 September 2019

Kim Jong-Nam's body returned to North Korea: China

AFP , Friday 31 Mar 2017
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1932
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1932

The body of the assassinated half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un arrived in Pyongyang Friday, apparently accompanied by three men initially named by Malaysian police as suspects in his murder.

Kim Jong-Nam was attacked with the lethal nerve agent VX on February 13 in Kuala Lumpur airport, in an audacious Cold War style operation that triggered a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea.

Malaysian national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said three North Koreans wanted for questioning had finally been interviewed and allowed to leave on the same plane carring Kim's body.

"We have obtained whatever we want from them... we are satisfied," Bakar said. The three had been holed up in the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur for weeks.

China confirmed that the body had arrived in Pyongyang - after transiting through Beijing -- along with "relevant" North Korean nationals.

Both countries expelled each other's ambassadors and barred their citizens from leaving, in a bitter stand-off over the killing.

But late Thursday, Kuala Lumpur said it had agreed to send back the body to the North in exchange for nine of its citizens, who were returned to Malaysia early Friday.

Malaysia's police chief said the three North Koreans had been wanted for questioning because they were seen on CCTV near the airport attack.

"In the beginning we said we would like them to assist in the investigation and we have allowed them to go," Khalid told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

He said police still wanted to question four other suspects believed to be in North Korea.

Malaysia had been waiting for family to claim the body and Khalid hinted that the North's leader himself could have written the letter to claim the body.

"Legally, Kim Jong-Un is next of kin," he said.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing that Beijing "offered necessary assistance to the transit of the body".

The murder in Kuala Lumpur removed a potential claimant to the Kim throne -- he was late leader Kim Jong-Il's first-born -- who was an embarrassment to Pyongyang.

South Korea has blamed the North for the brazen killing, citing what they say was a standing order from Kim Jong-Un to murder his exiled and estranged half-brother.

But the North denies this and denounced Malaysia's investigation into the death as an attempt to smear the secretive regime.

It had insisted that the man, who it has not named, died of a heart attack.

Two women -- one Vietnamese and one Indonesian -- have been arrested and charged with the murder. Airport CCTV footage shows them approaching the 45-year-old victim and apparently smearing his face with a piece of cloth.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the body swap deal late Thursday, saying his government had "worked intensively behind the scenes" to reach an agreement.

He said the coroner approved release of Kim's body after completion of the autopsy and receipt of a letter from his family requesting the remains be returned to North Korea.

Malaysia however has officially confirmed his identity using DNA evidence.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.