KUALA LUMPUR: North Korea has condemned Malaysian authorities for not releasing the body of its dead citizen, despite the latter having confirmed that he was indeed a North Korean national.
North Korean ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol also suggested that Malaysia is trying to 'conceal' something, at the urging of South Korea.
Speaking to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital tonight, the ambassador expressed his dissatisfaction with the Foreign Ministry and police.
"Malaysia initially informed us that a North Korean citizen died of a heart attack while he was on the way to the Putrajaya Hospital and had requested that we confirm that he was a North Korean citizen, which we did.
"We rejected the request for a post-mortem examination because he was a diplomatic passport holder and under the consular protection of North Korea, but the Malaysian side proceeded (with the autopsy) without our permission.
"After concluding the post-mortem examination, the Malaysian police said they would release the body if we submitted a document through Wisma Putra, which we did this morning (Friday), but there has been no answer from the Malaysian authorities," he said.
Reports have since named the deceased man as King Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Kang Chol, however, did not name Jong-nam, and only referred to him as a North Korean citizen.
The ambassador also said he had met with "a high-ranking officer of the police" on Friday morning to demand the release of the body but it was declined.
"He rejected our demand, raising an issue which has nothing to do with the clarification of the cause of death," he said. Kang Chol, however, did not elaborate on what the issue was.
Kang Chol claimed this strongly suggested that the Malaysian government was trying to "conceal something", and suggested that they were being asked to do so by South Korea.
"The South Korean puppet authorities are desperate to escape from the miserable state of their largest ever political scandal.
"They are distorting public opinion to defame the image of North Korea with this incident," he said.
He urged the Malaysian government to not become entangled in a political plot, and demanded Malaysia release the body to them without further delay.
"We will respond strongly to the hostile moves towards us by politicising this incident and taking this to international court," he said.
On Monday, Jong-nam was reportedly killed by North Korean operatives at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, just as he was about to board a morning flight to Macau.
Jong-nam, who had been living in exile, was reportedly targeted by two female operatives, one of whom had wiped his face with a chemical-laced cloth.
Jong-nam had sought the help of airport staff, who summoned an ambulance for him. However, he died on the way to the Putrajaya Hospital.
An autopsy has since been conducted on the body, but the report has yet to be made public.
Police have also arrested two female suspects, based on CCTV footage of the incident. One of the suspects holds a Vietnamese passport while the other is an Indonesian.
The two have been remanded for a week to facilitate the probe.