KUALA LUMPUR: North Korean embassy officials have rubbished Malaysian police investigations into the death of Kim Jong-nam, saying it could not have been poison.
North Korea is also asking for the release of the three suspects who have been detained so far, including its citizen Ri Jong Chol.
"It has been 10 days since the incident happened, but Malaysian police have not found any evidence from the arrested suspects," the embassy said in a statement that was delivered by an unidentified official on Wednesday.
The statement goes on to deny that the female suspects had daubed poison on Jong-nam's face with their own hands despite police investigations claiming that they had done so.
"Malaysia has been conducting the investigation based on CCTV footage that was released to the public, (showing) that the female suspects had daubed the poison on the victim's face with their own hands.
"Then how is it possible that these female suspects could be alive after the incident?
"This means that the liquid they daubed … is not poison and there is another cause of death for the deceased," the embassy said.
Earlier Wednesday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the female suspects were instructed to wash their hands after they had done the deed, and that they knew the chemical they were using was poisonous.
Police are still waiting for the lab results to identify the type of chemical that was used in the crime.
The North Korean Embassy made no mention of two other persons of interest identified in this case - the second secretary at the embassy here and an employee of Air Koryo.
The embassy also expressed its dissatisfaction with how Malaysian authorities had conducted the case, claiming that it was "extremely insulting" to the sovereignty of North Korea.
It also claimed that Malaysia's actions had infringed international laws and customs, and at the same time, displayed "clear evidence that Malaysia takes sides with the South Korean allegations."
The embassy also said instead of targeting and pinning its suspicion on its citizens, Malaysian authorities should focus on ascertaining the cause of death and focus on the search for suspects.
The full statement by the North Korean Embassy in Malaysia:
The Foreign Minister of Malaysia has mentioned in the statement dated 20th February, 2017 that the press release issued by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the DPRK to Malaysia on the same day was based on the allegations culled from delusions, lies and half-truths, that any suggestion Malaysia is in collusion with foreign government is deeply insulting to Malaysia, that the investigations has been conducted impartially in compliance with Malaysian laws and regulations and it is customary for embassies to co-operate fully with the host government in order to ensure that the investigation is as thorough as possible, and not to impugn the credibility of the investigation.
In this connection, the Embassy hereby states its position in response to the above statement.
1. The allegations in the press conference and the press release by the Ambassador were not culled from such delusions, lies and half-truths, but from the developments to date and the stance taken by Malaysia towards this incident. This was fully explained by the Ambassador to the Deputy Secretary General for Bilateral Affairs in the meeting on 20th February, 2017. The Deputy Secretary General made no comment on our allegations and it seemed he had no idea about the developments of the incident. In the meeting, we could also feel as if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia had not been informed of any procedure of investigation and the mutual notifications between the Embassy and the Royal Malaysia Police, but they just had been conveying the request of the Police to the Embassy.
2. From the very beginning of this incident to date, the mutual contacts, notifications and the stances towards the incident are absolutely true as they are.
3. Malaysia has denied its collusion with foreign government and claimed that the investigation has been conducted impartially in compliance with its laws and regulations. Then, the investigation should have to be focused on ascertaining the cause of deaths and the search of suspects based on the statements made by the arrested two female suspects and the criminal evidence. However, it only targeted and pinned the suspicion on the DPRK citizens from its first step and adhered to confirming the name and identity of the deceased which were alleged by South Korea and requesting for the presence of his next-of-kin for the purpose of identification and DNA test without any regard to our confirmation on the identity of the deceased DPRK citizen.
4. This is extremely insulting to the sovereignty of the DPRK, an illegal act of infringing the international laws and customs and the diplomatic privileges and at the same time a clear evidence that Malaysia takes sides with the south Korean allegations.
5. It has been 10 days since the incident happened, but Malaysian police has not found any evidence from the arrested suspects.
6. In case Malaysia is not influenced by the groundless allegations by south Korea or foreign media, they should respect us in the investigation.
7. Malaysia has been conducting the investigation based on the CCTV footage that was released to the public and the delusion that the female suspects had daubed the poison on the victim's face with their own hands. Then how is it possible that these female suspects could be alive after the incident?
8. This means that the liquid they daubed for a joke is not a poison and there is another cause of death for the deceased.
9. Out of this, they should immediately release the innocent females from Vietnam and Indonesia as well as DPRK citizen, Ri Jong Chol, who was arrested unreasonably.