North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia has said the investigation into the death of Kim Jong-nam cannot be trusted and has insisted the victim is not the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un.
While Malaysian authorities have identified the victim as Kim Jong Nam, North Korean ambassador Kang Chol told reporters the embassy had only ever identified the victim as Kim Chol, based on passport carried by the dead man.
“It has been seven days since the incident but there is no clear evidence on the cause of death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police,” said the ambassador, who had earlier been summoned by the Malaysian foreign ministry to explain other remarks doubting the probe’s impartiality.
“The embassy has already identified his identity named Kim Chol, a DPRK citizen, as mentioned in his passports,” he added.
Earlier, Mr Kang said Malaysia may be “trying to conceal something” and that the autopsy was carried out “unilaterally and excluding our attendance.”
On Monday, the Malaysian foreign ministry said it had recalled its ambassador to Pyongyang “for consultations” and had summoned Mr Kang to a meeting, “to seek an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia.”
The statement called Mr Kang’s comments “baseless” and said it “takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation.”
It said the government had kept the North Korean embassy informed of the situation, telling them that because “the death occurred in Malaysian soil under mysterious circumstances, it is the responsibility of the Malaysian Government to conduct an investigation to identify the cause of death.”
Since Mr Kim’s death last week, authorities have been trying to piece together details of what appeared to be an assassination. Malaysian police have so far arrested four people carrying identity documents from North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Investigators are looking for four North Korean men who flew out of Malaysia the same day as the attack, Malaysian police said.
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The autopsy results on Mr Kim could be released as early as Wednesday, said Health Minister S Subramaniam.
Investigators also want to speak to Mr Kim’s next of kin to formally identify the body. He is believed to have two sons and a daughter with two women living in Beijing and Macau.
Additional reporting by agencies