Pyongyang on Thursday said the death of a North Korean citizen in Malaysia last week was a “conspiratorial racket” launched by South Korea.

North Korea also blamed the Malaysian side for showing an unfriendly attitude in handling the case, Pyongyang’s official news agency KCNA said in a report.

A spokesman for the Korean Jurists Committee said an autopsy was unnecessary as the death had been confirmed as caused by a heart stroke and the deceased man carried a diplomatic passport, the report said.

The man died on the way from the Kuala Lumpur airport to hospital, Xinhua news agency reported.

Malaysian police first identified him as Kim Chol from North Korea.

Later, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said embassy documents showed the man was Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong-un, but that was denied by the North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol.

The incident was “undisguised encroachment upon the sovereignty of North Korea, a wanton human rights abuse and an act contrary to human ethics and morality,” the KCNA report quoted a the spokesman as saying.

He claimed that South Korea “worked out the scenario” and released false reports that the man was poisoned to death.

“It is regretful that only Malaysia is denying such fact,” he added.

The spokesman criticised Malaysia side for conducting an autopsy without any prior agreement with North Korea.

Malaysian police Wednesday reiterated that a DNA test would be needed to identify the dead man from North Korea before remains could be released.

But the spokesman called the request an “absurd pretext”.

“Malaysia is obliged to hand his body to North Korea as it made an autopsy and forensic examination of it in an illegal and immoral manner,” the spokesman said, adding that this proves that Malaysia wants to politicise the transfer of the body to Pyongyang in disregard of international law and morality and attain “a sinister purpose.”

Four suspects, including a Vietnamese woman, an Indonesian woman, a Malaysian man and a North Korean man, have been arrested so far, according to Malaysian police. However, the cause of death is yet to be determined by lab results.

Up till now, no next-of-kin of the deceased man has showed up to help authorities carry out DNA identification, a key step in determining the identity, said Malaysian officials.

First Published | 23 February 2017 10:21 AM
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