The son of Kim Jong-nam pleaded with Malaysian authorities not to turn over his father’s body to North Korea, but it “fell on deaf ears”.
The plea by 22-year-old Kim Han-sol was shared by several high-ranking Malaysian government officials by early March, The Asahi Shimbun revealed yesterday.
However, the plea “fell on deaf ears” as Malaysian authorities opted instead to secure the release of Malaysian nationals in Pyongyang and repatriated the body in compliance with North Korean demands.
On Mar 7, Pyongyang banned the departure of 11 Malaysian nationals, including diplomats, from North Korea.
Malaysia retaliated and prohibited North Korean diplomats from leaving the country.
The Japanese newspaper reported that Malaysian government officials began negotiations with their North Korean counterparts on Mar 13.
In the end, they agreed to hand over Jong-nam’s body in return for allowing the Malaysian nationals to leave North Korea.
According to the newspaper, one government source with knowledge of the negotiations said Pyongyang took small tissue samples related to Kim Jong-nam back to North Korea.
Citing a number of unnamed high-ranking Malaysian investigative authorities, the news report said Han-sol agreed to cooperate with DNA analysis to identify his father’s body but told Malaysian authorities that he felt it would be too dangerous for him to personally claim his father’s remains. Instead, he requested that the body be cremated.
Jong-nam was assassinated on Feb 13 he was attacked with a lethal chemical weapon at KLIA. His body, which underwent two embalming processes, was flown back to Pyongyang on Mar 31.