North Korea hits out at ‘unilateral’ US sanctions in Sony hack aftermath

Kim Jong Un is killed in 'the Interview'

North Korean officials have criticised the US for imposing sanctions against the state following the FBI blaming the rogue state for the infamous cyber-attack against Sony Picture Entertainment.

Officials from the DPRK have repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks which were seemingly perpetrated by a hacking collective intent on bringing to a halt the Interview’s depiction of Kim Jong Un’s death.

The sanctions were imposed on Friday against North Korea's intelligence agency the Reconnaissance General Bureau, state arms dealer Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (Komid) and the Korea Tangun Trading Corporation.

Komid representatives stationed in Russia, Iran and Syria were also affected by the embargo which White House officials claimed was not issued as a direct response to the Sony hack.

A North Korean government official disareed with US claims, telling state-run news agency KCNA: "The policy persistently pursued by the US to stifle the DPRK, groundlessly stirring up bad blood towards it, would only harden its will and resolution to defend the sovereignty of the country.

“The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap 'sanctions' against the DPRK patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the DPRK."

The move comes the same month the US relaxed sanctions against Cuba in a historical policy repositioning from president Obama. Furthermore, some analysts have doubted the rogue state’s involvement with the attack.

Kurt Stammberger, a senior vice president with cyber security firm Norse, told the Telegraph that it was more likely that the hack was orchestrated instead by a “disgruntled ex-employee”.

Despite the hackers’ threats, Sony Pictures Entertainment went ahead with a limited theatre output for the movie on the 25 December in conjunction with digital distribution through YouTube and Google Play, Microsoft Xbox Video and its dedicated website.

Following its release, the Interview made back a third of its £28m budget, raking in £9.6m within days. It also became Sony’s most downloaded movie ever.

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