Malaysia has confirmed the identity of the slain half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un using a DNA sample from one of his children, foreign media reported Wednesday.
Investigators "confirmed the identity of the body as Kim Jong-nam based on the sample obtained from his child," Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying by AFP.
|Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (R) (Yonhap)|
Reuters also reported that the sample was taken from one of Kim's children, citing the remark by the deputy prime minister. Kim is known to have two sons including Kim Han-sol, 22, and one daughter. The official did not specify how the DNA sample was obtained, Reuters said.
Kim Jong-nam was killed at an airport in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13 after two Asian women allegedly smeared banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on his face.
On March 10, Malaysian police officially confirmed that the identify of the killed North Korean was Kim Jong-nam, the first son of late former leader Kim Jong-il.
Malaysian police have said that Kim's next of kin should come forward to identify and claim his body, but no one has publicly shown up to do so.
Kim Han-sol, Kim Jong-nam's second son, appeared on an online video clip on YouTube last week, saying that his father was killed, amid concerns about the safety of the bereaved family.
South Korea's intelligence authorities confirmed that the man in the footage is Kim Han-sol.
Seoul has said that North Korea is behind the killing, saying that the North's leader has issued a standing order to kill his brother since he assumed power in 2011.
Malaysian police said that eight North Koreans are suspected of being involved in the killing, along with the two women.
Four North Korean suspects fled Malaysia on the day of the murder and Ri Jong-chol, a 46-year-old suspect, was released from custody in early March due to a lack of evidence.
They are chasing three others including Hyon Kwang-song, the second secretary of the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
North Korea rejected Malaysia's probe, saying that it has colluded with South Korea to manipulate the results of the investigation.
Pyongyang claimed that the dead man is Kim Chol, the name on a passport held by Kim Jong-nam. It said that a North Korean citizen carrying a diplomatic passport fell into a state of "shock," without making any references to his identity.
Malaysia's deputy prime minister said that negotiations began this week to resolve a diplomatic spat between Malaysia and North Korea, according to the Associated Press.
Last week, North Korea temporarily slapped an exit ban on Malaysians. In a tit-for-tat move, Malaysia decided not to allow North Korean diplomats to leave the Southeast Asian country.
Malaysian newspaper The Star reported the government could transfer Kim's body to North Korea to secure the return of its nine nationals.
"We are looking into all possibilities," it quoted the deputy prime minister as saying in response to a question about such an exchange. (Yonhap)