North Korea says body of murder victim to return in deal with Malaysia; travel bans lifted

FILE PHOTO: Kim Jong Nam arrives at Beijing airport in Beijing, China, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 11, 2007. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea on Thursday said it had reached agreement with Malaysia for the return of the body of a citizen killed in Kuala Lumpur in February and identified by South Korean and U.S. officials as the half-brother of the North’s leader.

The body is to be returned to family in North Korea, the official KCNA news agency said, adding that both countries would lift reciprocal bans on travel by citizens and guarantee their safety, letting nine Malaysians now in Pyongyang return home.

The agreement was reached after recent talks between North Korea and Malaysia in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, it added.

North Korea does not acknowledge the dead man is Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang continues to refer to him as Kim Chol, the name on the diplomatic passport Kim was carrying when he died.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez