N Korea threatens hack row strikes

Published: Monday 22nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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North Korea has threatened strikes against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole US mainland, that cesspool of terrorism”, accusing Barack Obama of “recklessly” spreading rumours of a Pyongyang-orchestrated cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea’s massive propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington.

But the long statement from the powerful National Defence Commission also underscores Pyongyang’s sensitivity at a movie whose plot focuses on the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un, the beneficiary of a decades-long cult of personality built around his family dynasty.

The US blames North Korea for the cyber-attack that escalated to threats of terror strikes against American cinemas and caused Sony to cancel The Interview’s release.

President Obama, who promised to respond “proportionately” to the attack, told CNN’s State of the Union that Washington as reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The National Defence Commission, led by Kim, warned that its 1.2 million-member army was ready to use all types of warfare against the US.

“Our toughest counter-action will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the ‘symmetric counter-action’ declared by Obama,” said the commission’s policy department, in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea has said it knows how to prove it had nothing to do with the hacking and proposed a joint investigation with the US.

North Korea and the US, which fought each other in the 1950-53 Korean War, remain technically in a state of war because the conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The US stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea to deter aggression from the North.

The rivals are locked in an international stand-off over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes and its alleged human rights abuses. Last spring tension dramatically rose after North Korea issued a string of fiery threats to launch nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul.

Published: Monday 22nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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