KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - North Korea said it would “categorically reject” Malaysia’s autopsy report on the death of the man identified by Malaysian authorities as the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim Jong Nam died in Kuala Lumpur this week after being assaulted at Kuala Lumpur International Airport with what was thought to be a fast-acting poison. South Korean and US officials have said he was assassinated by North Korean agents.
In its first comments since the man’s death, the North Korean envoy, Kang Chol, demanded that his body be released immediately. “The Malaysian side forced the post-mortem without our permission and witnessing,” Kang told reporters outside the hospital late on Friday (Feb 17). “We will categorically reject the result of the post mortem... "
He also accused Malaysia of “concealing something” and “colluding with outside forces.”
His statement made no reference to the identity of the man.
The Malaysian foreign ministry had no immediate comment on the ambassador’s remarks. But the country’s top cop said Malaysian rules must be followed.
“We have rules in Malaysia. Whilst in Malaysia, everyone has to obey and follow our rules and regulations,” Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told Reuters. “That includes North Korea.”
The North Korean embassy officially requested on Thursday, that the body of Kim Jong Nam be released. It had earlier tried to persuade Malaysian authorities not to carry out an autopsy.
Malaysian police said on Friday it would not release the body until it receives DNA samples from his next-of-kin.
Malaysia is one of the few countries that North Korea has diplomatic relations with.
North Korea rejected Malaysia’s request for a post-mortem, because “he is a diplomatic passport holder and our citizen who is under the consular protection of the DPRK,” Kang said, adding that Malaysia had initially said the North Korean died from a heart attack.
“We will respond strongly to the moves of the hostile forces towards us with their intent to besmirch the image of our republic by politicising this incident,” he said. He suggested North Korea would take legal action, in an international court.
In a written statement that was also released to the media, the envoy accused South Korea of trying to distort public opinion.
Two female suspects, one an Indonesian and the other carrying Vietnamese travel documents, have been arrested in connection with the murder. A Malaysian man has also been detained. Four men believed to have been accomplices are still being sought.
Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea.
South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers in Seoul that Kim had been living with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau, under China’s protection.
He had been at the Kuala Lumpur airport to catch a flight to Macau when he was killed.
Cornelia Charito Siricord, director of forensics in the science ministry, told Reuters that an analysis was being carried out on samples taken from the body to help the police establish the cause of death.