Kim Jong Nam death: Malaysia and North Korea escalating tensions between the two countries.
Kim Jong Nam was poisoned with a lethal dose of VX. Listed by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, after he arrived to board a flight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport last month.
Pyongyang will not allow Malaysian nationals inside North Korea to leave until Kuala Lumpur guarantees the safety of its own diplomats and citizens in Malaysia, North Korean state media reported Tuesday.
Malaysian authorities recently released a North Korean chemist from custody because of a lack of evidence then deported him, according to The Associated Press. After his release, the wire service reports the chemist, Ri Jong Chol, accused Malaysian police of threatening to kill his family unless he confessed.
It had been reported earlier that Kim Chol or Jong-nam was at KLIA2 at 8am on February 13 to board a flight to Macau an hour later when two women suddenly appeared before him and allegedly wiped his face with the palms of their hands which contained what was later identified as the VX nerve agent.
Jong-nam reportedly sought help at a customer service counter at the airport and was rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way. He had come to Malaysia on February 6.
North Korea temporarily ban the exit of Malaysian citizens.
South Korea is increasing the reward money it’s offering North Korean defectors for classified information. And the hike in the cash reward is no pittance: The South Korean government is quadrupling the amount, from roughly $217,000 up to $860,000.
In its statement on Tuesday, North Korea said it would “temporarily ban the exit of Malaysian citizens” until the safety of North Korean diplomats and citizens in Malaysia is “fully guaranteed through the fair settlement of the case that occurred in Malaysia,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.
It was unclear what resolution to the Kim case North Korea was seeking. But it has rejected the findings of the Malaysian police that Kim Jong Nam was poisoned by VX nerve agent at the Malaysian capital’s international airport on Feb. 13, and it has demanded that his body be handed over to the North Korean Embassy.