SEOUL: South Korea has rejected North Korea’s allegations that Malaysia colluded with Seoul in investigating the death of Kim Jong-nam (pic), the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol on Monday accused Malaysia of “colluding and playing into the gallery of external forces” in its probe into the death, referring to South Korea.
Seoul has flatly rejected Kang’s claim, calling it “preposterous and sophistic.”
“The envoy’s comment on South Korea is a preposterous claim that is not even worth countering,” a ministry official was quoted as saying in a report by the Yonhap news agency.
A diplomatic row is deepening between North Korea and Malaysia over Jong-nam’s death.
Wisma Putra issued a statement Monday describing Kang’s accusations as “baseless.”
“The Malaysian Government takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation,” the statement read.
Kang also said last week that North Korea would not accept the result of Jong-nam’s autopsy as it was performed without Pyongyang officials in attendance.
He demanded that Malaysia immediately hand over the body, but Malaysian police said they would give two weeks for Jong-nam’s next-of-kin to claim it.
Jong-nam’s son Kim Han-sol was rumoured to be flying to Malaysia on Monday to identify his father’s body.
However, media personnel who rushed to KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) saw no sign of him.
Jong-nam, 45, was killed by two women who splashed his face with a chemical at the KLIA2 departure hall at about 9am on Feb 13 as he was about to leave for Macau.
Four people have so far been arrested in the ensuing investigation.
Last Wednesday, the first suspect, who holds a Vietnamese passport bearing the name Doan Thi Huong, was arrested at KLIA2 as she was preparing to board a flight to Vietnam.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah was arrested at a hotel in Ampang at 2am the next day.
Police said she was identified based on CCTV footage at the airport and was alone at the time of arrest.
Siti Aisyah’s boyfriend was also picked up by police to assist with investigations.
The fourth suspect arrested over the assassination has been identified as North Korean Ri Jong-chol, from Pyongyang.
The 47-year-old man, who has expertise in chemistry, was detained after police raided a condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama last Friday.
On Sunday, police said they were searching for four more North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of Jong-nam’s death.