Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: North Koreans hiding in Malaysian embassy return to Pyongyang

Three North Koreans who spent weeks hiding in the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur have left Malaysia, police said Friday. The trio had been wanted for questioning in connection with the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. Kim Jong Nam was murdered February 13 when two women wiped his face with the highly toxic VX nerve agent at an airport in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia blamed North Korea for his death, but Pyongyang has strongly denied any involvement. On Friday, Royal Malaysia Police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters police took statements from the three men at the North Korean embassy before their departure. Though Bakar would not name the three that were interviewed, it was previously revealed that Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the embassy, and Kim Uk Il, an employee of North Korea’s national airline, were both hiding at the embassy.Ri Ji U, a 30-year-old North Korean whose employment was not disclosed by Malaysian police, was believed to be the third individual holed up there, a Malaysian government official told CNN. Bakar said the men’s freedom was not tied to an agreement which secured the release of nine Malaysians in Pyongyang and sent Kim Jong Nam’s body back to North Korea. When asked if they were cleared of wrongdoing, Bakar only stated the men were no longer needed for the investigation, which is ongoing. They had been wanted for questioning after being seen on security camera footage at the airport on the day of Kim’s death, he said.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/31/asia/kim-jong-nam-malaysia-north-koreans/

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