Kim body to be sent to N. Korea, Malaysians freed

9:29 am JST							North Koreans linked to Kim Jong Nam's murder arrive in Beijing

9:29 am JST North Koreans linked to Kim Jong Nam's murder arrive in Beijing

Earlier, a van was seen leaving the morgue where Kim's body was being held, after which police guards were removed.

Malaysia will release the body of Kim Jong Nam to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and allow its nationals to leave, after the nine stranded Malaysian citizens in DPRK were freed, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Kim, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, died last month after two women smeared a deadly nerve agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.

The nine Malaysians being held in North Korea - embassy staff and their families - left Pyongyang on Thursday evening, and are due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur Friday morning. North Koreans in Kuala Lumpur will also be allowed to go home.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said a coroner had approved the release of Kim Jong-nam's body.

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Malaysia however has officially confirmed his identity using DNA evidence and had said it was waiting for his next of kin to claim the body.

Two women face murder charges for allegedly wiping Kim's face with VX nerve agent, which caused his death within 20 minutes. North Korea, which is widely suspected to be behind the attack, has rejected the autopsy findings. As The Two-Way has reported, both nations had blocked each other's citizens from departing and expelled their ambassadors.

The women, who were quickly arrested and charged with murder, say they were duped into thinking they were taking part in a hidden-camera prank TV show.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un previously warned in a January 1 address that his regime had "entered the final stage of preparation for a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile".

"I have instructed for all possible measures to be taken to bring those responsible for this murder to justice".

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The Malaysians left Pyongyang in a Royal Malaysian Air Force business jet, which headed immediately west out of North Korean airspace before turning south toward Malaysia, according to flight tracking website planefinder.net.

Kim, who was in his mid-40s and had lived overseas for years, was estranged from his younger brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea does not even acknowledge the victim is Kim Jong Nam, referring to him instead as Kim Chol, the name on the passport he was carrying when he died.

Kim was killed at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13. "In case a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, the USA will be held wholly accountable for it, no matter who will launch a preemptive attack, as it is causing trouble by bringing lots of nuclear strategic assets and special warfare means", said the statement.

- March 7: Tensions escalate after North Korea bans Malaysians from leaving Pyongyang.

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