Malaysian police on Wednesday named a senior official in North Korea’s embassy and a staffer at its state airline, who are wanted for questioning over the murder last week of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Kim Jong Nam, 46, was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, while preparing to board a flight to Macau, where he lived in exile with his family under the protection of Beijing. South Korean and U.S. officials believe the killing of the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was an assassination carried out by agents of the North. Kim Jong Nam had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed state. Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar named the North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning as 44-year-old Hyon Kwang Song, and said he held the rank of second secretary at the embassy. The police chief identified the Air Koryo staffer as Kim Uk Il, 37. He said both were in Malaysia, but gave no further details. “They’ve been called in for assistance. We hope the embassy will cooperate with us and allow us to interview them quickly or else we will compel them to come to us,” Khalid told reporters at a news conference. Calls on Wednesday to the North Korean embassy for comment on the latest developments went unanswered. Malaysia has so far identified a total of eight North Koreans suspected of being linked to killing. One, Ri Jong Chol, is in custody, and another, Ri Ji U, remains at large. Khalid said police “strongly believed” four others were back in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, having fled Malaysia on the day of the attack. Diplomatic tensions have escalated between North Korea and Malaysia since the killing, with the countries trading barbs over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation. North Korea Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world that maintains ties with the nuclear-armed nation. Earlier this week Malaysia recalled its ambassador from Pyongyang, and Prime Minister Najib Razak rebuked the North Korea ambassador in Kuala Lumpur for making “diplomatically rude” comments.
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Newsline: Malaysia names North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning