Photo/IllutrationA man claiming to be Kim Han Sol, the son of the late Kim Jong Nam, appears in a YouTube video. (Captured from YouTube website)

KUALA LUMPUR--The son of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, pleaded with Malaysian authorities not to turn over his father's body to North Korea following his assassination in February.

However, the pleadings made by Kim Han Sol fell on deaf ears as Malaysian authorities chose instead to secure the release of their diplomats and repatriated the body in compliance with North Korean demands at the end of March.

According to several high-ranking Malaysian investigative authorities, Kim Han Sol also agreed to cooperate with DNA analysis to identify his father's body. Malaysian authorities until now had not disclosed Kim Han Sol's role in cooperating with the analysis.

Kim Han Sol told Malaysian authorities that he felt it would be too dangerous for him to claim his father's remains in person. At the same time, he passed on his wishes for handling his father's body, asking that he be cremated.

Kim Han Sol added that the method of cremation and the handling of the ashes would be left to the discretion of Malaysian authorities.

But at the same time, he made it clear that the last thing he wanted was for the body to be turned over to Kim Jong Un and the North Korean government.

The plea made by Kim Han Sol was shared by a number of high-ranking Malaysian government officials by early March, the sources said.

Kim Jong Nam was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13 by two women who smeared a fast-acting poison on his face.

According to Malaysian investigative authorities, DNA samples were taken from Kim Han Sol and other close relatives in early March after Kim Han Sol indicated he would cooperate in the process to identify the body as his father's.

Malaysian authorities determined the body was indeed that of Kim Jong Nam after the DNA analysis.

Meanwhile, North Korea was desperate to get Kim Jong Nam's body in its possession. On March 7, Pyongyang banned the departure of 11 Malaysian nationals, including diplomats, effectively making them "hostages" of the North Korean government.

Malaysia retaliated and prohibited North Korean diplomats from leaving the country.

However, media raised doubts about the diplomatic skills of the government since Malaysian nationals had been placed in danger. Concerned about further public criticism, Malaysian government officials began negotiations with their North Korean counterparts on March 13.

Malaysian officials, in the end, chose the protection of their own nationals and agreed to hand over Kim Jong Nam's body in return for allowing the Malaysian nationals to leave North Korea.

One government source with knowledge of the negotiations with North Korea said Pyongyang took even small tissue samples related to Kim Jong Nam back to North Korea.

The body of Kim Jong Nam, which went through two embalming processes, was flown back to Pyongyang on March 31.