China has been asked to claim the body of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader who was allegedly murdered at an airport in Malaysia, according to a source Thursday.
The second wife of Kim Jong-Nam had asked the Chinese government through its embassy in Kuala Lumpur to claim his body following an autopsy, the source told BenarNews.
Kim died en route to hospital after reportedly telling medical personnel that a woman had attacked him with a chemical spray at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Monday.
At the time, he was about to board a flight to the Chinese territory of Macau, where, according to South Korean media reports, he had been living with Lee Hye Kyong under Beijing’s protection.
“We have been informed that the family in Macau has made a request to claim the body,” the source said, adding that the body would only be released after a full post-mortem report was prepared stating the cause of death.
There was no immediate comment from the Chinese embassy, but a foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday in Beijing that China was aware of reports of the death and was closely following developments.
South Korea’s intelligence agency says female agents working for Pyongyang poisoned Kim as he was preparing to board a flight. U.S. government sources also strongly believe that North Korean agents murdered Kim Jong-Nam.
Kim had pleaded with his half-brother and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un five years ago to withdraw a standing order for his assassination, Seoul’s intelligence agency had said. The leader allegedly believed his brother could be used in any overthrow of his regime.
North Korea has not made any public comment over Kim’s death.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday that Kim’s body would be released to the next-of-kin or the North Korean embassy after all police and medical procedures had been completed.
On Wednesday, an official close to the investigation told BenarNews that North Korea had requested the Malaysian government to release the victim’s body without a post-mortem.
“But we turned down their request,” the official said.
It is not clear how Malaysia would handle dueling demands for the body amid the assassination claims.
Full story: BenarNews
Anis Natasha and Fadzil Aziz
Copyright ©2017, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.