World

Malaysia: Kim's body has not been claimed

Health Minister denies speculation that corpse had been sent to Pyongyang

KUALA LUMPUR: Six weeks after the airport assassination of Kim Jong Nam, Malaysia yesterday said it was still waiting for his family to claim the body, denying rumours that it had been sent back to Pyongyang.

The half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un was poisoned with the lethal nerve agent VX in a brazen Cold War-style assassination on Feb 13 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Health Minister S. Subramaniam told reporters: "There have been a lot of rumours that the body was cremated, but we would not do this without the responsible parties giving us directives or agreement."

In recent days, there has been speculation that Kuala Lumpur had done a deal with Pyongyang to send the body to North Korea, in exchange for the return of nine Malaysians being prevented from leaving by Kim Jong Un's regime.

Other reports had suggested the corpse would be transported to Macau, where Mr Kim Jong Un had been living with his family.

"The body is still in the morgue at Hospital Kuala Lumpur," Mr Subramaniam said, adding it would remain there until the government had decided what to do.

Kuala Lumpur has been waiting for the next of kin to come forward and claim the body, but as this has not happened, it is now seeking other solutions.

Mr Kim Jong Un's wife and children, who were living in exile in Macau, staged a vanishing act after the murder.

There are fears that his 21-year-old son, Mr Kim Han Sol, could be targeted next and the family are thought to be in hiding.

The killing has triggered a bitter row between Malaysia and North Korea, which have expelled each other's ambassadors and barred each other's citizens from leaving.

Two women have been arrested and charged with the murder. - AFP

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