North Korea blasts US over sanctions

North Korea accused the Obama administration of “groundlessly stirring up bad blood” with a new round of U.S. sanctions imposed in response for the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap 'sanctions' against the DPRK [North Korea] patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the DPRK,” the reclusive regime said in a statement to its state-run KCNA news agency.

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The sanctions announced Friday give the administration the ability to impose economic penalties on any North Korean government entity or any person or entity providing support to Pyongyang. To start, the move mostly targets North Korea’s primary arms dealer, cutting off its access to the U.S. financial system.

Pyongyang again denied involvement in the cyber assault, which caused Sony to temporarily pause its Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Sony Pictures Entertainment produced a disgusting movie openly agitating terrorism against a sovereign state only to invite bitter censure and criticism of public at home and abroad,” North Korea said. “But the U.S. is kicking off a noisy anti-DPRK campaign, deliberately linking the ‘cyber terror’ with the DPRK.”

The FBI has publicly said North Korea was involved in the hit, which also exposed troves of Sony’s internal data, but numerous security experts have expressed doubt about the official narrative.

Pyongyang alluded to these doubts in its statement, suggesting the White House was suffering from a “guilty conscience.”

The administration’s refusal to join North Korea’s own probe into the attack proves it had an “ulterior motive” in blaming the East Asian country for the cyberattack, the statement said.

The sanctions, North Korea claimed, “would only harden its will and resolution to defend the sovereignty of the country.”