North Korea, Malaysia at Odds Over Death of Kim Jong Un's Brother
Diplomatic tensions are rising between North Korea and Malaysia in the aftermath of the apparent assassination of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kuala Lumpur has recalled its ambassador to Pyongyang for "consultations" after North Korea's envoy to Malaysia, Kang Chol, lashed out at Malaysia after officials rejected the North's demands to release Kim Jon Nam's body, and to allow a representative from the North Korean embassy to be present at the autopsy.
Kang Chol was summoned by Malaysia's foreign ministry Monday after he accused Malaysia of "trying to conceal something," and of "colluding and playing into the gallery of external forces." The foreign ministry dismissed the ambassador's claims as "baseless."
The 45-year-old Kim Jong Nam died en route to a hospital last Monday after he was reportedly accosted and poisoned by two women at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport while waiting to take a Macau-bound flight, according to Malaysian and South Korean officials.
Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV aired footage Monday taken by the airport's security cameras that reportedly depicts the fatal assault on Kim. After he was accosted, Kim is shown seeking help from airport workers while gesturing at his eyes.
Four people have been detained in connection with the crime, including the two suspected assailants and a North Korean national, who was arrested Friday. Investigators are also seeking four North Korean men who flew out of Malaysia on the day of Kim's death.
VP Pence Reassures Europe US Remains Staunch Ally
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says he is looking "very much forward" to his talks Monday with European Union and NATO leaders.
Pence is on his first trip to Europe since taking office, intending to reassure allies the United States remains a staunch friend amid concerns about the new administration's "America First" strategy.
The vice president's schedule includes meetings with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, EU Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Mogherini said after meeting U.S. officials in Washington last week that maintaining multilateral sanctions on Russia, keeping the Iran nuclear agreement in place and addressing the refugee crisis are issues the EU would like to collaborate on with the U.S. EU officials will also likely seek clarity on Trump's prediction last month in two European newspaper interviews that other countries would follow Britain and leave the alliance.
In the afternoon, Pence meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to close his European trip.
He expressed support for NATO at the alliance's security conference Saturday in Munich, adding reassurances after Trump's campaign statements describing NATO as "obsolete." "The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to our transatlantic alliance," Pence said in his first major foreign policy address for the new administration.