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Kim Jong Nam’s body returned to N. Korea with two suspects

Kim Jong Nam’s body returned to N. Korea with two suspects

Posted April. 01, 2017 07:09,   

Updated April. 01, 2017 07:13

The body of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, returned to Pyongyang on Friday. Along with Kim’s body, Hyon Kwang Song and Kim Uk Il, two suspects in the killing of Kim, were put aboard a China Airlines plane and headed back home. “After holding nine Malaysian hostages, including diplomats and their families, the North Korean government has made a swap deal with the Malaysian government who is preparing for a nationwide election coming soon,” the Sankei Shimbun reported.

According to Malaysian media sources, the North Korean government consistently said during the negotiation that the victim’s name was Kim Chol as indicated on a passport, and requested for a transfer of the body by the name of Kim Chol’s wife Lee Yong Hee. It seems that North Korea has created an imaginary wife after Malaysia requested for consent by the victim’s family for a transfer of the body. It is possible that Kim Jong Nam’s wife Shin Jong Hee living in Beijing used the fake name of Ms. Lee. In addition, North Korea might have submitted a DNA sample of Kim’s eldest son Kim Kum Sol with China’s assistance.

The swap deal between two countries was made on Thursday. On the same day, the body of Kim, wrapped in layers of plastic and strings, two suspects and four officers of North Korea’s negotiation team left the Kuala Lumpur airport around 7:45 p.m. via Malaysia Airlines flight MH360. After a few minutes, a plane carrying nine Malaysians left Pyongyang. The swap of the citizens of two countries reminds people of operations of a secret intelligence war.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com · Sung-Ha Joo zsh75@donga.com