Pyongyang on Tuesday sent a high-level delegation to Malaysia seeking the body of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim Jong Nam was killed on February 13 in Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.
Ri Ton-Il, Former North Korean Deputy Ambassador to UN who is among the diplomats, said the purpose of his visit was “to discuss the body of the deceased DPRK citizen who died in Malaysia.”
He said that he intended “to question the arrest of the DPRK citizen” in relation to the case.
North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia had denounced the country’s investigation into the death of the exiled Kim Jong Nam, calling it politically motivated and demanding a joint probe amid increasingly bitter exchanges between the once-friendly nations.
Malaysia responded with its own accusations, with a foreign ministry statement saying the ambassador’s comments were “culled from delusions, lies and half-truths.”
Earlier Monday, Malaysia said it was recalling its ambassador to Pyongyang.
The diplomatic spat comes in the wake of the death of Kim, who died after apparently being poisoned in the Kuala Lumpur airport.
The attack spiralled into diplomatic fury when Malaysia refused to hand over Kim’s corpse to North Korean diplomats and proceeded with at least one autopsy over the diplomats’ objections.
“The investigation by the Malaysian police is not for the clarification of the cause of the death and search for the suspect, but it is out of the political aim,” North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol told reporters Monday.
He said that Malaysia was in collusion with South Korea, as Seoul tries to deflect attention from its own months-long political crisis.
Also, police “pinned the suspicion on us, and targeted the investigation against us,” Kang said, calling on Malaysia to work with North Korea in a joint investigation.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters later Monday that he had confidence in the objectivity of his country’s police and doctors.
Malaysia had no reason to “paint the North Koreans in a bad light,” he said, adding, “We expect them to understand that we apply the rule of law in Malaysia.”
Over the weekend, Kang said Malaysia may be “trying to conceal something,” an accusation that led the Malaysian foreign ministry to recall its ambassador to Pyongyang “for consultations” and summon Kang to a meeting.
Police have so far arrested four people carrying identity documents from North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Those arrested include two women who were allegedly seen approaching Kim on Feb. 13 as he stood at a ticketing kiosk at the budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur airport.