North Korea criticises US over sanctions

US accused of "groundlessly" stirring up hostility after it imposed sanctions against officials over Sony Pictures hack.

    North Korea has criticised the US for imposing sanctions against government officials and the defence industry for a cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

    An unnamed spokesman of North Korea's Foreign Ministry accused the US on Sunday of "groundlessly" stirring up hostility towards Pyongyang and claimed that the new sanctions would not weaken the country's military.

    The spokesman was quoted by the country's Korean Central News Agency as saying that the sanctions had proven counter-productive "as shown by DPRK's measures to further sharpen the treasured sword of Songun," he said, referring to North Korea's official "military-first" policy. DPRK refers to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    North Korea denied any role in the breach of tens of thousands of confidential Sony emails and business files.

    The US on Friday sanctioned 10 North Korean government officials and three organisations, including Pyongyang's primary intelligence agency and state-run arms dealer, on what the White House described as an opening move in the respond towards the cyberattack.

    The sanctions will have limited effect as North Korea already is under tough US sanctions over its nuclear programme.

    President Barack Obama also warned North Korea that the US is considering whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, which could jeopardise aid to the country on a global scale.

    North Korea has expressed fury over the Sony comedy flick "The Interview," which depicts the fictional assassination of leader Kim Jong-un.

    Sony initially decided to call off the film's release after threats of attacks prompted cinemas to decide not to show the film. After Obama criticised that decision, Sony decided to release the film in limited theaters and online.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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