N.Korea's Rift with Malaysia Deepens Over Kim Jong-nam Killing

      February 21, 2017 12:14

      The North Korean ambassador to Malaysia on Monday continued his grandstanding over the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother Kim Jong-nam and subsequent investigation.

      In a press conference in front of the embassy, Kang Chol blustered that his country "will categorically reject the result of the post-mortem" and accused Malaysian authorities of disregarding "elementary international laws and consular laws."

      Embassy officials, apparently under massive pressure from their regime, have behaved increasingly erratically since Kim Jong-nam was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last week.

      The envoy's latest outburst came after Malaysian police on Sunday revealed the identities and CCTV pictures of five North Korean suspects in the killing, and after he had already been called in by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry for a drubbing over previous comments.

      Kang also refused to accept that the victim was Kim Jong-nam. "We cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police," hsaid, echoing remarks at a press conference outside the morgue where Kim Jong-nam's body is stored. He said the victim had a passport in the name of Kim Chol and accused the Malaysian police of siding with South Korea to malign the North.

      "It only increases the doubt that there could be someone else's hand behind the investigation," he said.

      Kang reiterated his claim that Malaysian police initially told him that Kim had died of a heart attack on the way to hospital. Kang claimed Malaysian police are changing their stance as they are unable to find out the exact cause of death while demanding a DNA test with family members before handling the body over.

      North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol speaks to the media outside the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday. /Yonhap

      Embassy officials earlier demanded the body be cremated immediately without an autopsy, and when that failed asked for it to be handed over to them.

      But Malaysian authorities said they will only hand the body over to the next of kin, as is standard procedure, preferably backed by DNA identification.

      Kuala Lumpur on Monday recalled its ambassador to Pyongyang and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he has "absolute confidence" in the police investigation. Razak added the investigation has been "very objective" and aided by medical experts and rejected any conspiracy theories.

      With the clumsy and very public assassination, North Korea has managed to alienate one of the few countries in the world with which it has relatively friendly diplomatic ties. Malaysia has sometimes served as a backdoor channel for secret negotiations between North Korea and the U.S.

      Meanwhile, Malaysian media reported on Monday that Kim Jong-nam's son Han-sol arrived in Kuala Lumpur late Monday but dodged a horde of reporters camped out at the airport.

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