KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia will soon start formal talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) about the release of its stranded nationals, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said Saturday.
The announcement came after the Malaysian police formally identified the deceased DPRK man as Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un.
The ministry is now communicating directly with the DPRK embassy in Kuala Lumpur over the issue, the minister told reporters after a meeting with family members of the nine Malaysians who were barred by the DPRK side from leaving.
As part of the fallout of a diplomatic row over the death and investigation of Kim Jong Nam, both countries have expelled the ambassador of the other side and banned each other's citizens from leaving.
Anifah said the dealings with the body of Kim Jong Nam will also be in the discussions with DPRK, "because we don't want to keep the body more than what is necessary, that does not belong to us."
The DPRK side had demanded the release of the body immediately after the airport killing but Malaysia refused to comply, prompting the DPRK ambassador in Malaysia to issue a strongly-worded statement, accusing Malaysia of "colluding with hostile forces."
Anifah said the DPRK side had assured the Malaysian government that all the Malaysian nationals in DPRK are safe and are free to live their normal life.
He said in the wake of the diplomatic row, many countries have offered to mediate, "but we don't need a third party for the time being."
Before the start of the negotiations, Malaysia still needs to establish a lot of facts, said Anifah, without elaboration.