PUTRAJAYA: It’s official. The man who was believed to be poisoned at KLIA2 has been confirmed as Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was made based on documentation provided by the North Korean embassy.
He also confirmed that the man had travelled using the covert identity of “Kim Chol”.
“We have looked into the possibility that he travelled with a fake passport. I think he carried two different identities. Probably this is an undercover document. But it (Kim Chol passport) is an authentic passport,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Jong-nam’s body would be released to the North Korean embassy to be delivered to the next-of-kin once “police and medical procedures” were completed.
“The cause of death will be confirmed by the police, who will issue a statement,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said it was unclear what Jong-nam was doing in Malaysia.
“Our country allows visitors, as long as they enter via legal means.
“When he came in, why he was here, and why he was leaving for Macau, those questions are better left to be answered by the Immigration Department or the police,” he said.
He gave assurance that Malaysia’s airports were safe and secure.
“Our airport safety is at the highest level. This is a very isolated case. We are viewing our security cameras, and as you know, we have already identified and detained two suspects.”
Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the killing would not affect ties between the two nations.
In October 2016, a group of former US diplomats held closed door talks in Kuala Lumpur with senior Pyongyang officials amid an international effort at that time to further isolate North Korea.
Although diplomatic relations were established as long ago as 1973, North Korea opened an embassy in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 and a year later Malaysia did the same in Pyongyang.
Both countries do not require visas for their people, making Malaysia one of the few countries where citizens of North Korea can easily visit.
North Korea imports refined oil, natural rubber and palm oil from Malaysia, which buys electrical and electronic items, chemicals as well as iron and steel products from North Korea.
“North Korea is now looking at using Malaysia as a gateway to South-East Asian markets,” Dzulkifli Mah-mud, chief executive of the Malaysia External Trade Develop-ment Corp, said last December.
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