Malaysia formally identifies Kim Jong Nam as murder victim

Sergey Orlov  RIA Novosti  Sputnik

Malaysia had previously been referring to the victim as Kim Chol - the name used on Kim Jong Nam's North Korean passport - and had refused to make an alternate declaration on his identity until DNA evidence was provided.

In phone talks on Tuesday, Trump told Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that the U.S. stood "100%" with Tokyo after three of the intermediate-range missiles landed in the sea off Japan's north-west coast.

North Korea denies responsibility for the murder, but is now embroiled in an intensifying diplomatic row with Malaysia over the incident.

His wife and children, who were living in exile in the Chinese territory of Macau, have since gone into hiding over fears that his 21-year-old son, Kim Han-sol, could be seen as a potential rival by his uncle Kim Jong-un in a country roiled by bloody purges.

"Diplomatic relations between Malaysia and North Korea will not be severed, as we need to continue communicating with them to find a solution", Mr Najib said in a statement on his blog.

Inside Story: Are sanctions against North Korea working?

Meanwhile, the Asian Football Confederation has postponed the Asia Cup qualifier between North Korean and Malaysia.

North Korea retaliated by formally expelling his Malaysian counterpart, who was already back in Kuala Lumpur for consultations.

North Korea acknowledges that the dead man is a North Korean national, but maintains that it is not Kim, and that the deceased probably died of a heart attack and not VX poisoning.

"I'm hoping this can be a positive outcome", says Ms Noor.

Asserting its options may well be what Pyongyang feels it's now doing: standing up to the new administration in Washington, flexing what muscle it has against its southern neighbour, and continuing to irritate its Chinese big brother next door.

On speculation that Hyon was the one who planned the attack on Jong-nam, Khalid said he would not elaborate on matters under investigation.

The launches were seen as a protest against the start of joint military exercises involving South Korea and the United States that Pyongyang regards as a rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea.

Malaysia is searching for seven North Korean suspects in connection with Kim's assassination, including a North Korean diplomat.

Diplomacy is the primary weapon the West has against the small arsenal of nuclear weapons held by the North Koreans, and its goal must be for Pyongyang to cease the testing of nuclear weapons, and the missiles that could carry them.

But North Korea has a long history of surprising the global community.

Related news: