Malaysia will allow the body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's assassinated half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, to be transported to North Korea, according to an official statement issued on Thursday. 

"Following the completion of the autopsy on the deceased and receipt of a letter from his family requesting the remains be returned to North Korea, the coroner has approved the release of the body," Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

Kim died last month, after two women allegedly rubbed the lethal nerve agent VX on his face at Kuala Lumpur's international airport. Malaysian police have charged two women with his murder.

Earlier reports by The New Straits Times stated that Kim Jong Nam's remains were expected to depart for Beijing on flight MH360 en route to Pyongyang, but officials have remained silent when asked to confirm this.

Media on the ground witnessed a van leaving the forensics department in Kuala Lumpur for the cargo unit at the airport, but it could not be confirmed if it was carrying Kim Jong Nam's body.

Malaysia and North Korea have been embroiled in a bitter row over the corpse ever since Kim was killed.

Nine Malaysians, who had been barred from leaving North Korea during the spat, took off from Pyongyang and are expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 5 am on Friday (2100 GMT Thursday), the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said.

They are due to be welcomed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and their family members.

The negotiation also allows North Koreans in Malaysia to go back to Pyongyang.

Previously Malaysian officials had demanded an investigation into three suspects kept in the North Korean embassy in Malaysia. No information was given as to whether or not the suspects wanted for questioning would be allowed to leave.

Najib, who embarked on a five-day trip to India earlier on Thursday, reiterated: "The government believes strongly in the principles of justice and sovereignty. Our police investigation into this serious crime on Malaysian soil will continue." 

In a joint statement by the delegations from North Korea and Malaysia, both countries reaffirmed their desire to resolve outstanding issues based on the fundamental strength of their bilateral relations.

The statement also said that both countries had agreed to lift the travel ban imposed on the citizens of the other country and guarantee their safety and security within their respective territory. 

Malaysia and North Korea have agreed to look again at a visa-free travel arrangement. 

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