KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Nine Malaysians held in North Korea returned to Malaysia’s capital early Friday after the government released the body of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader, to the North. The exchange ended a bitter diplomatic battle between the two countries more than a month after Kim’s murder at Kuala Lumpur’s airport.
Following negotiations that he described as “very sensitive,” Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia agreed to release the body in exchange for the return of the nine Malaysians held in Pyongyang.
There were no details on what led to the breakthrough, but North Korea appeared to win some important concessions: Custody of the body and the release of at least two suspects who had been holed up in its embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysians — three embassy workers and six family members including four children — were flown home in a government jet and greeted by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman at the airport early Friday. Anifah said their safe return reflected “diplomacy at its best” but declined to provide further details on the deal with North Korea.
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Featured image courtesy of AP.
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