KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Pyongyang has accused Malaysia of colluding with "hostile forces", saying it would reject any results of a post-mortem examination carried out by Kuala Lumpur on the body of Kim Jong-Nam, the half brother of North Korea's leader.
The comments from the North Korean ambassador were the first official remarks from the country since the assassination of Kim Jong Un's estranged older sibling at Kuala Lumpur international airport on Monday (Feb 13).
But ambassador Kang Chol stopped short of identifying Jong Nam and did not comment on the cause of death, while North Korean state media has remained silent on the killing.
"The Malaysian side forced the post-mortem without our permission and witnessing. We will categorically reject the result of the post-mortem conducted unilaterally excluding our attendance," the ambassador told reporters gathered outside the morgue where the body was being held shortly before midnight on Friday.
The ambassador earlier met with Malaysian police, demanding the release of the body without delay but his request was rejected, according to an English transcript of the envoy's comments distributed by an aide.
"They are colluding with the hostile forces towards us who are desperate to harm us of malice," the transcript said, suggesting South Korea was trying to defame the North in a bid to distract from a corruption scandal at home.
Malaysia had earlier said it would refuse to comply with requests to hand over the body, insisting it would only be released when his family provide DNA samples.
Detectives in Kuala Lumpur have arrested three people as they try to shed light on a killing South Korea says was carried out by poison-wielding female agents working for their secretive northern neighbour.
A 25-year-old Indonesian woman named Siti Aishah and her Malaysian boyfriend have both been detained, along with a woman carrying a Vietnamese passport that identified her as Doan Thi Huong, 28.
Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said late Friday Aishah appeared to be the "victim of a scam or a fraud" who thought she was taking part in a reality show involving hidden cameras.
Aishah's family in Jakarta expressed shock over her arrest, with her former father-in-law saying there was "no way such a nice person would do that".
"I could not believe it because she was a good person," said Tija Liang Kiong, 56.
Vietnam have said they are co-operating with Malaysian authorities.
The drama erupted on Monday morning as Jong Nam prepared to board a plane to Macau.
Malaysian police say the chubby 45-year-old was jumped by two women who squirted some kind of liquid in his face.
Kim told staff he was suffering from a headache and was taken to the airport clinic grimacing in pain, according to Malaysian media citing CCTV footage from the airport.
He was once thought to be the natural successor to his father, but on Kim Jong Il's death in 2011 the succession went to Kim Jong Un, who was born to the former leader's third wife.
Reports of purges and executions have emerged from the current regime as Kim Jong Un tries to strengthen his grip on power in the face of international pressure over nuclear and missile programmes.