February 17, 2017 09:56
The Malaysian government said Thursday it will accept a request from North Korea to hand over the body of Kim Jong-nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"After all the police and medical procedures are completed, we may release the body to the next of kin through the embassy," Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters. He added that Kuala Lumpur's relations with Pyongyang will not be affected by the incident.
The doors to the morgue at the Kuala Lumpur hospital holding Kim Jong-nam's body were sealed tightly on Thursday. Reporters camped out in front of the doors, but not many people entered and left.
North Korean Embassy officials in Malaysia went to the hospital the day before to witness the autopsy after Kim was apparently assassinated on the shopping concourse of Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday.
The New Straits Times said they initially tried to prevent the post-mortem.
The Malaysian government earlier said Kim's body would not be released until the investigation is concluded, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.
Hamidi also said Kim, who was traveling on a passport in the name of Kim Chol, had another passport with his real name. "It looks like he wanted to travel incognito," he said.
There were also reports that Kim Jong-nam's own family wanted his body to be handed over. Malaysian news portal FMT quoted a government official there as saying Kim's second wife Ri Hye-kyong through the Chinese embassy asked for the body to be handed over to her.
Ri lives in Macau with Kim's two grown children, Han-sol and Sol-hui, under the protection of Chinese authorities.
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