A high-level delegation of North Korean officials arrived in Malaysia’s capital today to retrieve the body of the North Korean leader’s assassinated half-brother, as a Malaysian official said two women were set to be charged with murder for the killing using a potent nerve agent.
A former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, who was part of the delegation, told reporters outside the secretive state’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur that the diplomats wanted to obtain the body and seek the release of a North Korean who Malaysian authorities arrested in connected to the case.
The diplomat, Ri Tong Il, also said he hoped to encourage “the development of friendly relations” between North Korea and Malaysia, which has threatened repercussions following the assassination.
The South Korean government has accused North Korea of being behind the Feb. 13 murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. Malaysian authorities say the deadly VX nerve agent was placed on Kim’s face by two women at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport and that Kim died within 20 minutes.
The two women, identified as Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, are set to be charged with murder on Wednesday and could face a mandatory death sentence if convicted, Malaysia’s attorney general told The Associated Press today.
Malaysian authorities say North Koreans gave the nerve agent to the women. The women have reportedly said they believed they were part of a prank TV show.
South Korea’s foreign minister today called the killing a “wake-up call.”
“Just a few grams of VX is sufficient for mass killing,” Yun Byung-se told a United Nations conference in Geneva, Switzerland. “To our disbelief, North Korea is reported to have not just grams but thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons, including VX, all over the country.”
“In this sense,” he added, “the recent assassination is a wake-up call to all of us to…