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N. Korea, Malaysia Disagree over Kim's Death


A still image from a CCTV footage appears to show a man purported to be Kim Jong Nam talking to security personnel, after being accosted by a woman in a white shirt, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, Feb. 13, 2017. (FUJI TV/via Reuters)

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said his government's investigation of the killing Kim Jong Nam will be "objective."

Kim Jong Nam was the half-brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un.

"We have no reason why we want to do something to paint North Korea in a bad light, but we will be objective," Najib told reporters on Monday in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV released video footage that appears to show Kim Jong Nam being attacked in Kuala Lumpur International airport last week. Two women, believed to be North Korean agents, participated in the attack; one of them appeared to put poison on Kim Jong Nam's face.

Officials have not confirmed this footage.

Tensions rise between Malaysia and North Korea

Tensions have been rising between Malaysia and North Korea in the week following the killing.

Early on Monday, Malaysia recalled its representative in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Malaysia's foreign ministry said it had recalled its representative "for consultations."

The North Korean ambassador in Kuala Lumpur raised doubts about Malaysia's impartiality. He said the man killed in Kuala Lumpur's airport was not Kim Jong Nam.

North Korean officials have tried to prevent Malaysia from doing an autopsy. An autopsy is an examination of a dead body to find out the cause of death. Instead, North Korean officials have insisted that Malaysian authorities release the body to them.

Malaysian authorities have said they will release the body to Kim Jong Nam's son, Kim Han Sol.

Malaysian police said they were hunting for four North Koreans who fled the country the day of the attack. They have already detained several other suspects.

Suspects Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong (top L), North Korean Ri Jong Chol (top R), Indonesian Siti Aisyah (bottom L) and Malaysian Muhammad Farid Bin Jallaludin (bottom R) are seen in this combination of undated handouts released by Malaysia.
Suspects Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong (top L), North Korean Ri Jong Chol (top R), Indonesian Siti Aisyah (bottom L) and Malaysian Muhammad Farid Bin Jallaludin (bottom R) are seen in this combination of undated handouts released by Malaysia.

Implications and consequences of the attack

Malaysia is one of the few countries that maintain ties with North Korea, and this dispute could further isolate the country.

Following the news of Kim Jong Nam's death, South Korea convened a meeting of its National Security Council.

South Korea's Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn was nearly certain that North Korea was behind the killing.

"The North Korean regime's terrorism tactics are getting bolder so we must be more vigilant," Hwang said.

Kim Jong Nam had been living in Macau under Chinese protection.

On Saturday, China announced that it had suspended all coal imports from North Korea, a vital source of revenue for the country.

I'm John Russell.

Rozanna Latiff and Joseph Sipalan reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

objective – adj. based on facts rather than feelings or opinions

to paint (someone ) in a bad light – idiom to do something in a way that makes someone or something look bad

consultation – n. a meeting in which someone (such as a doctor or lawyer) talks to a person about a problem, question, etc.

impartiality – n. treating all people and groups equally

autopsy – n. an examination of a dead body to find out the cause of death

isolate – v. to put or keep (someone or something) in a place or situation that is separate from others

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