N Korea denies hacking Sony, US stands by its assertion

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea said yesterday US accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander” and that it wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States.

An unnamed spokesman of the North’s foreign ministry said there would be serious consequences if Washington refused to agree to the probe and continued to accuse Pyongyang, according to North Korea’s UN mission and the official KCNA news agency.

The United States stands by its assertion that Pyongyang was to blame, a White House National Security Council spokesman said yesterday, in response to the remarks.

On Friday, President Barack Obama blamed North Korea for the devastating cyberattack, which had led to the Hollywood studio cancelling the imminent release of The Interview, a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In its first substantive response, the isolated North Korea said it could prove it had nothing to do with the hacking attack.

“We propose to conduct a joint investigation with the US in response to groundless slander being perpetrated by the US by mobilizing public opinion,” the North Korean spokesman was cited as saying by KCNA.

“If the US refuses to accept our proposal for a joint investigation and continues to talk about some kind of response by dragging us into the case, it must remember there will be grave consequences,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman was quoted as making similar remarks in a statement issued later by North Korea’s UN mission.

NSC spokesman Mark Stroh dismissed this, saying: “We are confident the North Korean government is responsible for this destructive attack. We stand by this conclusion.”

“The Government of North Korea has a long history of denying responsibility for destructive and provocative actions.”

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