Najib: Malaysia will not sever diplomatic ties with North Korea

Trevor Jackson
April 13, 2017

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

Kim Jong-Nam was killed with the lethal nerve agent VX on February 13 in a Kuala Lumpur airport, in a brutally clinical operation which removed a potential claimant to the Kim throne - he was late leader Kim Jong-Il's first-born - who was an embarrassment to Pyongyang.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday that the body of Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been released to North Korea, bringing an end to a diplomatic spat that escalated over almost seven weeks.

Two women have been charged with murder over the death, Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam and Siti Aishah of Indonesia.

"Our police investigation into this serious crime on Malaysian soil will continue and I have instructed all possible measures be taken to bring those responsible to justice", he said.

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.

He also dismissed any notion that criminal investigations were compromised because of the negotiations with North Korea.

North Korea has denied any role in the killing.

An unidentified van believed to be carrying the body of Kim Jong Nam comes out from the forensic department at Kuala Lumpur Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Thursday, March 30, 2017. Najib said in a statement that Malaysia would also "allow North Koreans to leave Malaysia" as part of the agreement. They arrived back in Malaysia early on Friday.

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According to South Korean politicians, Kim Jong-Un had issued a "standing order" for his half-brother's assassination and there was a failed attempt in 2012.

Malaysian police have identified eight North Koreans as suspects in the killing, which South Korea says was orchestrated by the north's spy agency. Earlier, sources told Reuters authorities were preparing to transport Kim's body on Malaysia Airlines flight MH360 to Beijing.

Malaysia yesterday agreed to hand over the remains of Kim Jong-Nam and the three suspects to Pyongyang in exchange for nine Malaysians that were held there.

Three days after the women's detention, four North Koreans were named as ringleaders of the plot, all of whom left Malaysia soon after the murder. "We will wait no matter how long it will take." he said.

But North Korea has always demanded custody of the body, arguing that the victim was a citizen.

He had been living in the Chinese territory of Macau, under China's protection.

The Malaysians - three embassy workers and six family members including four children - were flown home in a government jet and greeted by foreign minister Anifah Aman at the airport.

Those who have returned include the country's counsellor to North Korea, Mohd Nor Azrin Md Zain, embassy staff, and their families.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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