Key Pyongyang official visits Malaysia over Kim’s death

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 28 (IANS) A former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday amid an escalating diplomatic row over the death of the half-brother of the North’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Ri Tong-il told reporters that he would request that Malaysia hand over the body of the North Korean citizen who died earlier this month in Malaysia, referring to Kim Jong-nam, Yonhap reported.

Kim was killed on February 13 at an airport in Kuala Lumpur when two women allegedly smeared banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on his face. He was awaiting a flight to Macau.

Ri said he will also request that Malaysia release one North Korean detained over the incident and discuss ways to strengthen friendly ties with Malaysia.

His visit came as North Korea blamed Malaysia last week for pressing ahead with an autopsy on the body of Kim Jong-nam in an “illegal and immoral” manner. The North claimed that Malaysia colluded with South Korea in the investigation, according to the report.

The Malaysian police earlier said that eight North Koreans are suspected of being involved in Kim’s killing, along with two Asian women who claimed they were deceived into thinking that they were taking part in a prank show.

Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah, 25, from Indonesia will be charged with murder on Wednesday, a Malaysia’s prosecutor said.