North Korean murder suspect says he is victim of conspiracy by Malaysia

The murder of Kim Jong Nam has soured relations between Malaysia and North Korea


Reuters March 04, 2017
North Korean national Ri Jong Chol stands behind the fence of the North Korean embassy compound in Beijing, China, March 4, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING: Ri Jong Chol, a suspect in the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, said in Beijing that he was a victim of a conspiracy by Malaysian authorities attempting to damage the honour of North Korea.

Ri, a North Korean, accused Malaysia of using coercion to try to extract a confession from him, in comments to reporters outside the North Korean embassy in Beijing early on Saturday.

Killing of Kim Jong Nam organised by North Korean govt ministries: South Korea

Kim Jong Nam was murdered on February 13th at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, after being assaulted by two women who Malaysian police believe smeared his face with VX, a chemical classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

The murder of Kim Jong Nam has soured relations between Malaysia and North Korea, which had maintained friendly ties for decades.

Ri said he was not at the airport on the day of the killing, and knew nothing about the accusation that his car was used in the case.

"I didn't go (to the airport), and I had no reason to go. I was just doing my work," he said.

Ri said he had worked in Malaysia trading ingredients needed for soap.

Ri was in Beijing on his way back to North Korea after Malaysia deported him on Friday.

Malaysia to issue arrest warrant for North Korean diplomat in Kim Jong Nam murder

He was met at Beijing's international airport early on Saturday by a swarm of South Korean and Japanese reporters, but he was whisked away from the chaotic scene by Chinese police before he was able to make any statement.

Outside the North Korean embassy, Ri told reporters that he was presented with false evidence in Malaysia, and police showed him pictures of his family in detention.

"I realised that this is a conspiracy, plot, to try to damage the status and honour of the republic," Ri said.

South Korean intelligence and the US officials say the murder was an assassination organised by North Korean agents.

Kim, who had been living in the Chinese territory of Macau under Beijing's protection, had spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control of isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea.

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