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U.S. denounces N. Korea's holding of Malaysians in row over Kim Jong-nam's killing

All Headlines 06:20 April 01, 2017

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Yonhap) -- The United States denounced as "unacceptable" the departure ban North Korea had placed on nine Malaysians to pressure the Southeast Asian nation in a dispute over the killing in Kuala Lumpur of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of the North's leader.

The nine Malaysians had all returned home Friday morning after the North allowed their departure from Pyongyang in exchange for Malaysia's agreement to hand over Kim's body to the North and allow three North Korean suspects in the case to leave the country.

"We are pleased that all Malaysian diplomats and family members who had been barred from leaving the DPRK have been allowed to return to their home country," the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said in a statement. The State Department provided a copy of the statement.

"The barred departure of diplomats and their family members was a grave and unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention," the embassy said. "We support Malaysia's expressed intent to continue investigation into serious crimes committed on its territory; all possible measures must be taken to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice."

All evidence has shown that the North was behind Kim's assassination, including the use of the nerve agent VX, a banned chemical weapon. Eight North Koreans were named as suspects in the case, though Pyongyang has denied any involvement.

U.S. denounces N. Korea's holding of Malaysians in row over Kim Jong-nam's killing - 1

jschang@yna.co.kr
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