KUALA LUMPUR: North Korea and Malaysia today exchanged barbs over the investigation into the killing of leader Kim Jong-Un's brother, as footage emerged of the moment he was fatally attacked in Kuala Lumpur airport. Malaysia's probe has put five North Koreans in the frame for the airport assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, but Pyongyang said it had no faith in the investigation and claimed Kuala Lumpur was in cahoots with "hostile forces".
The diplomatic confrontation gathered pace today when Malaysia recalled its envoy to North Korea and summoned Pyongyang's ambassador Kang Chol for a dressing down. But an unbowed Kang hit back. "It has been seven days since the incident, but there is no clear evidence on the cause of death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police," he told reporters in the Malaysian capital.
Pyongyang has also criticised Malaysia for carrying out a post-mortem examination without North Korean permission -- a complaint Kuala Lumpur said was groundless. "The ministry emphasised that as the death occurred on Malaysian soil under mysterious circumstances, it is the responsibility of the Malaysian government to conduct an investigation to identify the cause of death," the foreign ministry said. "The Malaysian government takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation. The Malaysian Government views the criticism... as baseless".
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak backed those running the probe, saying it would be "very professional". "I have absolute confidence that they are very objective in whatever they do," he said in his first comments since news of the killing broke. "We have no reason why we want to do something that would paint the North Koreans in a bad light. But we would be objective and we expect them to understand that we apply the rule of law in Malaysia."
CCTV footage aired on Japanese television on Monday gave the first public glimpse of the apparent moment Jong-Nam was attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The dramatic film shows two women approaching a portly man -- identified as Jong-Nam -- with one of them grabbing him from behind and appearing to push a cloth in his face. The man is then seen talking to airport staff and apparently explaining to them what had happened, gesturing to his head. The staff then lead him to the airport clinic. Photographs showing a man slumped in a chair at the clinic, consistent with the CCTV images of the attack, were published in the Malaysian press over the weekend.
Seoul has pointed the finger of blame at Pyongyang for the attack last Monday, citing a "standing order" from the leader to kill his elder sibling and a failed assassination bid in 2012 after he criticised the regime. The claim was bolstered over the weekend, with Malaysian police saying they believed five North Koreans were involved in the killing. One of them was already in custody, and four are believed to have fled the country on the day of the murder.