China confirms return of Kim Jong-nam's body

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China on Friday confirmed that the body of Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader, was flown back to Pyongyang from Kuala Lumpur via Beijing on Friday, following authorisation from Malaysia.

North Korean officials were seen gathering at Beijing airport after disembarking from a Malaysian Airlines flight on March 31.

The Malaysian contingent had been stranded in North Korea amid a protracted spat following the February 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam - the North Korean leader's estranged older half brother - at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysia on Friday called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to hand over four suspects in connection with the death of a DPRK man last month at the Kuala Lumpur airport.

Three North Koreans who had been wanted for questioning have now been allowed to leave Malaysia, Malaysia's chief of police said.

The North Korean group traveled to China on their way home.

They say Kim Jong-Un had issued a "standing order" for the assassination in order to consolidate his own power after the 2011 death of the father of both.

The other North Korean suspects named by Malaysian investigators are all back in North Korea.

Pyongyang banned all Malaysians in North Korea from leaving the country until Kim's corpse was repatriated.

But on Friday, in the wake of the larger political deal with North Korea, Mr Khalid said authorities recorded statements from the men and then released them.

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The matter was however part of the agreement reached with North Korea, that is, the police must be allowed to interview and interrogate them and North Korea had allowed this to be carried out, he added.

Kim Jong-nam, who had been living in exile in the Chinese territory of Macau for several years, survived an attempt on his life in 2012, according to South Korean politicians.

He relayed the events following the discovery of the passport, saying police immediately informed the North Korean embassy of the murder.

Malaysia will not snap diplomatic ties with North Korea following the row, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said during an official visit to India, state news agency Bernama reported.

"It will harm the relationship between the two countries", he said.

North Korea had requested the body, but has not confirmed its identity.

"Legally, Kim Jong-un is next of kin", he said.

Malaysian police used a DNA sample to establish the victim was Kim Jong-Nam.

"The next day, the official said it was not Jong Nam, but Kim Chol".