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North Korea Claims 'Counteraction' Launch
From the Wall Street Journal of Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:22:57 EST
The Sony Pictures Entertainment studio building in Culver City, Calif., as seen Friday
The Sony Pictures Entertainment studio building in Culver City, Calif., as seen Friday Associated Press

SEOUL—North Korea said it was launching a “counteraction” against the U.S. that was “thousands of times greater” than the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures that has roiled the U.S. government and entertainment industry.

In a statement published Sunday and attributed to the National Defense Commission, the country’s highest decision-making body, North Korea said that it had launched an attack on the U.S. and that it had “clear evidence that the U.S. administration was deeply involved” in the making of a movie that portrays an assassination attempt on leader Kim Jong Un. It didn’t say what that evidence was.

The statement didn’t elaborate on the time or nature of the action but said that it would confront the U.S. “in all war spaces including cyber warfare space” and promised bold action “against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland.”

“Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction,” the statement read. “Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists.”

The provocative words come a day after North Korea denied involvement in the cyberattack on Sony, which involved a massive leak of embarrassing emails and employees’ personal data and led to the cancellation of “The Interview,” a satirical movie that was set to be released Thursday in the U.S.

In that earlier statement, North Korea said that it had proof that it wasn’t behind the cyberattack, which it praised as the “righteous deed” of the country’s supporters and sympathizers, and offered to launch a “joint probe” with the U.S.

The U.S., which has rejected the probe, has instead reached out to China, a close ally of the isolated North, according to senior administration officials.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. would retaliate against North Korea but declined to say how or when. In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN, Mr. Obama called the hacking of Sony’s computer systems “an act of cybervandalism” and confirmed the U.S. was reviewing North Korea’s State Sponsors of Terrorism designation. The State Department under President George W. Bush delisted North Korea in 2008.

In its statement Sunday, the National Defense Commission, which is chaired by Mr. Kim, said that it wouldn't be “browbeaten” by Mr. Obama’s remarks.

Adam Cathcart, an expert in North Korea at Leeds University in the U.K., called the statement Sunday “the closest thing we have to Kim Jong Un’s own outlook” on the Sony hacking. He said reports attributed to the NDC, “at a bare minimum, need to be approved by Kim Jong Un prior to publication.”

The statement added that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s statement, published Friday and blaming North Korea for the attack, was a “fabrication.”

North Korea also disputed the FBI’s evidence that the Sony attack appeared to be similar to earlier known attacks by the North on South Korean banks and media outlets, denying that it was involved in those attacks.

A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council declined to comment on the latest statement from the North Koreans.

He reiterated the U.S. stance on the matter. “As the FBI made clear, 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. If the North Korean government wants to help, they can admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damages this attack caused.”

—Philip Shishkin contributed to this article.

`Write to Jonathan Cheng at

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