China confirms return of Kim Jong-nam's body

Posted April 01, 2017

Malaysian police investigating what US and South Korean officials say was an assassination carried out by North Korean agents at Kuala Lumpur's airport took statements from the three suspects before they were allowed to leave the country.

It was released as part of a deal under which nine Malaysians previously prevented from leaving North Korea have now arrived home.

The Malaysians were three embassy staff and six family members, including a small baby and three other children, landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport before sunrise where they were met on the tarmac by foreign minister Anifah Aman.

But a deal announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and confirmed by North Korean state media on Thursday said the two countries had lifted their respective travel bans, and Kuala Lumpur would send the body to North Korea.

Malaysian police had named eight North Koreans they wanted to question in the case, including the three given safe passage to return home.

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.

"Thus, we hope North Korea will no longer raise such problems as this could jeopardise diplomatic relations between the two countries", he told Malaysian reporters in Chennai at the conclusion of his two-day visit today. Malaysian officials said they had the right to conduct an autopsy with the death happening on its land.

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Najib said in seeking a solution to the case, he set two objectives for the committee established to negotiate the problem with North Korea.

Malaysian police had previously said two female suspects, one Indonesian and one Vietnamese, together with four DPRK suspects, carried out the February 13 attack on the DPRK man at the airport. Police chief Khalid said the North Korean embassy had at first confirmed the identity, but changed its stance the next day.

According to Khalid, the passport found on Jong Nam's body "clearly stated North Korea".

Malaysian police used a DNA sample to establish the victim was Kim Jong-Nam.

Pinkston said that while North Korea could view both the assassination and removing its stranded nationals from Malaysia's jurisdiction as a successful mission, the three men could still likely expect a rough reception at home.

The Plane Finder tracking website showed the Bombardier took off from Pyongyang at the same time the Malaysian Airlines flight MH360 left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

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