Malaysian police dismiss conspiracy claims by former N Korean detainee

Victory Day parade in Pyongyang. Flickr  Creative Commons  Stefan Krasowski

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in a statement that his country had demanded an apology from the envoy for the comments, but none was forthcoming.

While the suspected use of the deadly VX nerve agent is within the legal parameters of designating the North as a terrorist state, Mr. Benjamin told Voices of America, assassination by itself can not be interpreted as an act of terrorism.

Over the weekend, Putrajaya declared that North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol was now persona non grata and has been expelled from the country, a major break in diplomatic relations.

North Korea is likely to revoke Malaysia's visa-free travel status in a tit-for-tat move following Malaysia's decision to impose a new visa application process for North Korean visitors, say experts.

The deportation came two days after two women - one Vietnamese and one Indonesian - were charged with murdering Kim Jong-nam with the deadly VX nerve agent while he was preparing to board a flight to Macau.

Ri Tong Il, a former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, has said Kim probably died of a heart attack because he suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

As the brother-in-law of Kim Jong-un, he had been living in exile for several years and had begged the North Korean leader to spare his life after a previous assassination attempt.

Since Kim's death, North Korea's ambassador in Kuala Lumpur has consistently denied allegations that the DPRK was involved in his murder.

As Ri had allegedly given the two women and others a ride to the airport, it was hoped that he could reveal key details of the February 13 attack, in which the two women are suspected of using their bare hands to apply a toxic chemical to Kim Jong Nam's face.

Malaysian authorities on Friday deported the only North Korean detained in the killing of the half brother of North Korea's leader, and issued an arrest warrant for another whose whereabouts are unknown.

The ministry said it sent a note to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur ordering Kang to leave. The autopsy is especially sensitive because North Korea had asked Malaysia not to perform one, but authorities said they had to under the law.

The ambassador said last month that his country "cannot trust" Malaysia's handling of the murder investigation and also accused Malaysia of "colluding with outside forces", an apparent reference to South Korea.

The police believe the four North Koreans recruited the two women, who maintain that they were hired to play a prank on the victim.

Reuters news agency reported that security checks on North Koreans had been stepped up at all border crossings to prevent them from leaving.

North Korea does not acknowledge that it was Kim Jong Nam who died.

The reaction and the response must be firm and North Korea must be taught that such a conduct has no place in this day and age.