A standoff over the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother has seemingly ended, after Malaysia released the body of Kim Jong Nam and allowed the departure of two men who had been questioned about his death.
The North Korean group traveled to China on their way home. Japan’s NHK News reports that they visited North Korea’s embassy in Beijing before continuing on to Pyongyang.
“One of the men is believed to be Hyon Kwang Song, the second secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur,” NHK reports. “The other is thought to be Kim Uk Il, an employee of North Korea’s state-owned airline.”
As Merrit reported for the Two-Way Thursday, Malaysia’s prime minister said the move was “in exchange for the return of nine Malaysians who had been blocked from leaving North Korea.” When the swap was announced, Prime Minister Najib Razak also said a plane carrying the Malaysians had already taken off in Pyongyang.
The mutual release ends the two nations’ travel bans on each others’ nationals, a development that came after weeks of disagreement over the death of Kim Jong Nam.