Jong-nam’s body will not be released to N. Korean delegation, says Subra

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 02 Mar 2017

PUTRAJAYA: Wisma Putra has received a request for a meeting from a North Korean high-level delegation, which is in the country to retrieve the body of Kim Jong-nam.

However, they are not likely to get their way as Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam has announ­ced that they would not yield to any such request unless it is made by the next of kin.

Foreign Ministry sources said the request came in “recently” but officials need some time before a meeting can be arranged.

Dr Subramaniam said the Govern­ment hoped Jong-nam’s relatives would come forward and provide DNA samples to conclude the forensic procedures.

“We want to reach a conclusion in this matter. We are not giving a deadline or time frame for the next of kin to identify and claim the body.

“If eventually no one comes forward to identify and claim it, then a decision will have to be made, and it will be made by the Government,” he told a press conference before his post-Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam also confirmed that a North Korean “high-level” de­legation was in Malaysia and has met with members of the Cabinet.

“They did not meet me. They met with other Cabinet members and had a discussion with them.

“But whatever they have asked or request­ed, as far as we are concerned, we will abide by our own protocols,” he said.

He said the Government was firm that it would not give in to any request for the body to be released to North Korea.

Dr Subramaniam said the protocols followed included identifying the body of Jong-nam and announ­cing the cause of death.

“His death was due to a nerve poison. We will not change that. Nei­ther are we releasing the body until it is identified. And we will only release it to the rightful people, which is the next of kin,” he added.

“We have not received any contact from them (next of kin), but we are not sure if the police have. The task of contacting the relatives is left to the police and the Foreign Ministry.”

Dr Subramaniam said none of those who came into contact with Jong-nam, including the two suspects and 13 medical staff who had attended to him during the incident at KLIA2, had shown signs of poisoning from the deadly VX nerve agent.

“Although one of the women did suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea, there is no other indication that anyone has been poisoned,” he said.

The North Korean delegation, which includes the country’s former ambassador to the United Nations Ri Tong-il also wants to secure the release of a citizen from police custody and develop friendly relations with Malaysia.

Only a handful of media personnel waited at the gates of Wisma Putra yesterday and they left around noon after receiving a tip-off that no such meeting would be held.

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