Body of assassinated Kim Jong-nam is returned to North Korea

Tension between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang arose following the killing of Kim Jong-nam, 46, the elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the KL 2 worldwide airport (klia2), here on Feb 13.

Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korea's unpredictable leader Kim Jong-un, was killed at the airport on February 13th in an incident involving VX nerve agent, a chemical so lethal the United Nations has listed it as a weapon of mass destruction.

After Malaysian authorities named eight North Korean suspects, Pyongyang claimed the investigation was corrupted by South Korean influence.

"We have obtained whatever we wanted from them" and are "satisfied" with the statements, Khalid Abu Bakar said.

"One of the men is believed to be Hyon Kwang Song, the second secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur", NHK reports.

But late on Thursday, Kuala Lumpur said it had agreed to send back the body to the north in exchange for nine of its citizens, who were returned to Malaysia early Friday.

While the two suspects were arrested by the Malaysian authorities, suspicions of other North Korean agents' involvement remained.

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According to Khalid, the passport found on Jong Nam's body "clearly stated North Korea".

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a media briefing that Beijing "offered necessary assistance to the transit of the body".

The two countries had been locked in a diplomatic row in the wake of Mr Kim's murder in Kuala Lumpur last month. North Korea has denied having anything to do with the killing and has slammed Malaysia's investigation as flawed and politically motivated. It had insisted that the man, who it has not named, died of a heart attack. Airport CCTV footage shows them approaching Kim Jong-nam and apparently smearing his face with a piece of cloth.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak (pix) said although faced with problems, the settlement reached had fulfilled two objectives of the negotiations stipulated by the government.

He said the coroner approved release of Kim's body after completion of the autopsy and receipt of a letter from his family requesting the remains be returned to North Korea.

Police believe four fled Malaysia on the same day as the murder and another was held for a week before being released due to insufficient evidence.

Pinkston said that while North Korea could view both the assassination and removing its stranded nationals from Malaysia's jurisdiction as a successful mission, the three men could still likely expect a rough reception at home.

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