N Korea proposes joint probe with US into cyber-attack on Sony Pictures

December 20, 2014

SEOUL (Yonhap) — North Korea on Saturday denied playing any role in the crippling cyber-attack on Sony Pictures and proposed a joint investigation with the United States into the allegation.

“We have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case,” an identified spokesman for the North’s Foreign Ministry said, dismissing the allegations against the North as an “unfounded rumor.”

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to “respond proportionally” to North Korea over its alleged involvement into the cyber-attack that led to the cancellation of the release of “The Interview,” a comedy about assassinating the North’s leader Kim Jong-un, on Christmas Day.

During his year-end news conference on Friday, Obama said that Washington “will respond in a place and time and manner that we choose,” though he declined to elaborate on what a proportional response would be.

The FBI said it has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for the cyber-attack.

The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that if Pyongyang retaliates, it will target those who are responsible for hostile acts against it and their bases, not a terrorist attack aimed at the innocent audience in cinemas.

“Our military has the will and ability to do so,” the spokesman said. “The U.S. should bear in mind that it will face serious consequences in case it rejects our proposal for a joint investigation and presses for what it called countermeasure while finding fault with” the North.

On Wednesday, Sony ultimately decided to call off the film’s release, which had been set for Christmas Day, after hackers threatened attacks on theaters showing the movie, and some large theater chains decided to pull the film from their screens.

Unidentified hackers have warned that “the world will be full of fear” in case the “The Interview,” is released. They also said “Remember the 11th of September 2001,” referring to the date of deadly terrorist attacks on U.S soil.

The movie is about two American journalists who land an interview with the North Korean leader in Pyongyang but are then recruited by the CIA to kill him. Pyongyang has condemned the movie as the “most undisguised” sponsoring of terrorism.

Pyongyang has denied involvement in the cyber attack, though it lauded it as a “righteous deed.”