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Malaysia to re-open N.Korea embassy after murder row

AFP  |  Kuala Lumpur 

will re-open its in Pyongyang, the said, more than a year after the assassination of the North Korean leader's half-brother in triggered a diplomatic row.

The came the same day US and the North's Un held a historic summit in Singapore, as seeks to persuade to give up its nuclear arsenal.

The North Korean leader's estranged relative, Nam, was murdered at airport in February last year by assassins who smeared a nerve agent on his face, in a Cold War-style killing that shocked the world.

The killing -- widely blamed on -- sparked a diplomatic row with Kuala Lumpur, one of the North's few allies, with both countries expelling each other's and barring their citizens from leaving.

Malaysia's has not been staffed since April last year and had reportedly been considering permanently closing the mission and moving its services to

But Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power after a shock election victory last month, said this would not happen, in comments published today.

"We will re-open the embassy," he told

He also said he had was hopeful about the US-meeting.

"If promises to abandon nuclear weapons, there will be less tension," he said, in an interview before the leaders' meeting.

"We should take North Korea at face value and get it to participate in international negotiations to moderate the rigid attitude it had before.

"We should take it as genuine, and try to establish a good relation including a trade relation with North Korea."

Before Kim's assassination, Kuala Lumpur and had unusually warm relations, with North Koreans able to travel to visa-free -- a rarity for the sanctions-hit country.

That deal was cancelled after the murder of Kim, who was once heir apparent to the North Korean leadership but fell from grace and went to live in exile.

Two women, one from and one from Indonesia, were arrested over the assassination and are standing trial.

They maintain their innocence. Their lawyers insist North Korean agents fooled them into thinking they were carrying out pranks for a reality TV show, and not an assassination.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 17:15 IST