This story has been updated to include expert comments
North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia on Friday said the DPRK government would reject the results of any autopsy on Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while also accusing the Malaysian government of working with the North’s enemies.
In his first statement to the media since Kim Jong Nam was murdered in Kuala Lumpur airport on Monday, Ambassador Kang Chol said the Malaysian government had told their North Korean counterparts that Kim had died of a heart attack.
“We will categorically reject the result of the postmortem conducted unilaterally excluding our attendance,” Kang said in a written statement circulated to reporters.
“This is the culmination of the violation of the human rights of and infringing upon our citizen disregarding the elementary international laws and the consular laws.”
The DPRK ambassador added that Malaysian authorities could not withhold the body as Kim Jong Nam was a diplomatic passport holder.
“It is not a diplomatic passport but a diplomatic visa that gives immunity and there has been no suggestion that Kim Jong Nam had a Malaysia diplomatic visa,” an expert with knowledge of diplomatic relations who wished to remain anonymous told NK News.
“Malaysia was fully entitled to carry out a post mortem on a victim of murder on its territory. North Korean permission is not needed.”
The North Korean statement also targets Malaysian police, saying they were delaying the body’s release to deceive the North’s envoys and further collude with “hostile forces”.
The prepared remarks go on to claim Seoul is attempting to distort public opinion, and distract attention from political turmoil in South Korea.
“That’s why we strongly urge and demand the Malaysian side not to be entangled in a political plot of the hostile forces and to release the body and the result of the postmortem to us without further delay,” Kang’s statement reads.
The official statement concludes by threating to “sue file this (sic) to the International Court.”
Malaysian police told Reuters on Friday that they would not release the body to the North Korean embassy as they had not received an application from next of kin.
“We need to collect DNA samples from the next-of-kin in order to get conclusive evidence on the victim’s identity,” Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat said.
The DPRK’s strong reaction to the developments, even prior to an autopsy result will likely do little to endear them to the Malaysian government.
“The diatribe against Malaysia was foolish. North Korea risks alienating one of its few regional friends. And the international community will wonder why the North Koreans were so keen to get the body back,” the expert added.
“Given that there is credible evidence that there was an assassination attempt, why wouldn’t Pyongyang want to cooperate with Malaysia to find who the ‘enemies of the state’ actually are who did this?” Stephan Haggard, director of the Korea-Pacific Program at IR/PS told NK News.
Kim Jong Nam was allegedly poisoned by two women as he made his way through Kuala Lumpur airport earlier this week. The New Straits Times reported one of the women distracted Kim, while the second attacked from behind to administer the poison.
But earlier on Friday Malaysia’s national police chief said that one of the women believed she was taking part in a comedy show prank and spraying people with water.
“Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong Nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer,” Tito Karnavian said in comments carried by AP.
“She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents.”
The North Korean statement is shown in full below.
Featured image: NK News
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