Malaysia recalled the North Korean ambassador Monday “for consultations” after heightened tensions between the two nations over the killing of Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother Kim Jong Nam. Last week, Ambassador Kang Chol accused Malaysia of colluding with “hostile forces” to damage North Korea, after South Korea said that the Kim Jong Un regime had orchestrated the airport attack.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after North Korea’s demands to hand over the body of Kim Jong Nam were rejected. Malaysia said that it will release the body of Kim Jong Nam only after an autopsy. According to reports, the results of the autopsy are expected to be released Wednesday. Malaysia’s foreign ministry responded to Kang’s complaint, calling it “baseless.”
“The Malaysian government takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation,” a foreign ministry statement said Monday after a meeting with the North Korean ambassador. “The Malaysian ambassador in Pyongyang has been recalled to Kuala Lumpur for consultations.”
“The ministry emphasized that as the death occurred on Malaysian soil under mysterious circumstances, it is the responsibility of the Malaysian government to conduct an investigation to identify the cause of death,” the statement added.
Kim Jong Nam died last Monday after an apparent substance attack at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where he had been preparing to take a flight to Macau. South Korea alleged that he was poisoned by two women, who are believed to be North Korean operatives. Several arrests have been made in connection to Kim Jong Nam’s killing.
On Monday, CCTV footage — reportedly released by Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV — purportedly showed the deadly assault in Malaysia on Kim Jong Nam by a woman.
Four suspects — a Vietnamese woman, an Indonesian woman, a Malaysian man and North Korean man — have been arrested by Malaysian police, who are also searching for four other North Koreans who fled the country on the day of the attack.