KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/ANN News Desk) - The body of Kim Jung-nam, brother of North Korean leader Kim Jung-il, departed for Beijing on Friday morning as Malaysians were allowed to return home after conclusion of diplomatic row.
The body of Kim Jong-nam who was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13, is headed for Pyongyang, according to Malaysian officials.
The body was put on a Malaysian Airlines flight to Beijing and left the country accompanied by two North Koreans whom the police had sought to assist in murder investigations. Also with them were four North Korean negotiators who concluded their talks with Malaysian officials two days ago.
The team of negotiators from Pyongyang, led by a Vice-Minister for Oceania and Asia was negotiating with Foreign Ministry’s secretary-general Ramlan Ibrahim.
According to sources the two men – North Korean embassy second secretary Hyon Kwang-song and Air Koryo personnel Kim Uk-il – were interviewed by Malaysian police two days ago.
“That was one of the concessions made during the negotiations. The two are not suspects but the police wanted to talk to them,” said a source.
The return of Kim’s remains concludes a dispute between Malaysia and North Korea over autopsy results that found he had been killed with nerve agent VX – a highly toxic chemical weapon.
North Korea denied the results and accused Malaysia of colliding with South Korea.
When Malaysia refused to release the body pending the complete autopsy, North Korea barred seven Malaysians from leaving the country.
The seven, however, have returned to Malaysia as of early Friday morning, according to the Star.
The death of Kim, brother of North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, is widely believed to have been an assassination although Malaysian authorities have yet to conclude the investigation.
Two women have been arrested in connection with the case: Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah. They maintain their innocence and that they were led to believe it was a “prank.”
Doan may have been recruited by Ri Ji Hyon, the on of former North Korean ambassador to Hanoi, Ri Hong, according to The Star. He is one of four suspected North Koreans who left Kuala Lumpur on the day Kim was murdered.
Kim Jong-nam was the heir apparent of North Korea until 2001, when he was arrested in Japan with a fake passport attempting to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
He left North Korea in 2003, paving the way for his younger brother to assume leadership following the death of their father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011.