Kim Jong-Nam's body returned to North Korea

Kim Jong-nam died in February after being attacked at the Kuala Lumpur airport by two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, who sprayed his face with a toxic VX nerve agent, deemed by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

The body of Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has arrived in Pyongyang, Chinese officials say.

At the same time, destroying the evidence also avoids it becoming a focal point for opponents of the regime, added Kwang Jin, who worked for the North's state insurance company before fleeing to the South.

On Thursday, Najib had announced the return of the body, but did not mention Kim by name.

South Korean and US intelligence sources say North Korea masterminded the attack, which Pyongyang denies.

The nine Malaysians who had been trapped in Pyongyang arrived in Kuala Lumpur early on Friday on board a small Bombardier business jet operated by the Malaysian air force.

On March 7, Pyongyang prohibited Malaysian nationals from leaving North Korea and Kuala Lumpur responded by taking a similar action against North Korean nationals from leaving this country.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency confirmed the agreement, saying the two sides had pledged to "guarantee the safety and security" of each other's citizens, and that Malaysia had agreed to transfer the body "to the family of the deceased" in North Korea.

Malaysia expelled North Korea's ambassador for being "diplomatically rude", although Najib later said that ties with Pyongyang would not be severed, in a bid to calm relations.

Investigators say Kim was poisoned with nerve agent in a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal and quickly died February 13.

The episode, however, is likely to have cost North Korea one of its few friends. After the mix-up was realized, North Korea's diplomatic mission in Kuala Lumpur was informed on the day of the murder, the sources said.

South Korea has repeatedly referred to the assassination as a clear example of the North Korean leadership's brutality and recklessness.

It ended up with several North Korean suspects holed up at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur and barred from going home.

"The body of the DPRK citizen who died in Malaysia and relevant DPRK citizens have returned to the DPRK today via Beijing", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

It appears to have acceded to North Korea's wishes to get the Malaysians released, Mr Head said.

Najib on Thursday declared on Twitter that the diplomatic crisis with North Korea was over.

"Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), after the conclusion of the negotiation process, all the Malaysians who were detained in North Korea have returned home to their respective families in their beloved country, Malaysia".

CCTV footage shows two women approach Mr Kim as he waited for a flight and smear VX nerve agent on his face.

An Indonesian and a Vietnamese woman have been charged killing him but they are regarded by South Korea and the U.S. as pawns in an operation carried out by North Korea.

Malaysian police have been looking for three suspects including a diplomat believed to be hiding at the North Korean Embassy in Malaysia.

  • Salvatore Jensen