KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned North Korea's ambassador, Kang Chol, on Monday (Feb 20) to seek an explanation on accusations he made against Malaysia's government in his press conference on Feb 17, following the alleged killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The Malaysian ambassador in Pyongyang has also been recalled to Kuala Lumpur for consultations.
A statement from the Malaysian ministry said it viewed Kang Chol's criticisms as "baseless" and that the Malaysian government took "very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation".
During the press conference on Feb 17, the North Korean ambassador accused Malaysia of "forcing" a post-mortem on the body of Kim Jong Nam, saying the embassy would reject the findings.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia and other media, Kang Chol said North Korea would "strongly respond to this act by the Malaysia side" and bring the matter to the international court.
In response, the statement from the Malaysian ministry said that during the Feb 17 press conference, the North Korean ambassador "insinuated that with respect to the death of a Korean national on Feb 13, the Malaysian Government had 'something to conceal'. The Ambassador also alleged that Malaysia was 'colluding and playing into the gallery of external forces'."
Malaysia's foreign affairs ministry "emphasised that as the death occurred in Malaysian soil under mysterious circumstances, it is the responsibility of the Malaysian Government to conduct an investigation to identify the cause of death. This investigation has been conducted in the manner prescribed by Malaysian law."
The statement also added: "The Embassy was informed that the death had been classified as sudden death and as such, a post-mortem would have to be carried out. The Embassy has also been informed that once the investigation are concluded, the body would be handed to the next of kin in accordance with existing Malaysian laws and procedures."
The ministry said that the Malaysian government has been transparent and that the North Korean embassy has been kept informed of developments as well as the processes involved under Malaysian law.
On Monday, Kang Chol met with Malaysia's Deputy Secretary General for Bilateral Affairs, Ambassador Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, the ministry's statement said.
Malaysia's Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said Kim Jong Nam's autopsy results could be released by Wednesday, based on standard procedure timing.
The minister said at a press conference in the Malaysian capital that the police and the forensic unit needed time to complete the report.