Pyongyang: Coming down heavily upon the United States for a slew of sanctions imposed on its government officials and defense industry, North Korea on Sunday reiterated the threat of its “military-first policy” and accused Washington of “groundlessly” fomenting antagonism towards the hermit kingdom.
The US alleges that North was behind a crippling hacking attack on Sony Pictures in November that revealed embarrassing emails and internal communications and later led the firm to cancel the release of a movie - “The Interview”.
The movie, which is about a fictional CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un, was later released online.
US President Barack Obama too criticised Pyongyang for the alleged hacking attack however North Korea has distanced itself from America's accusations and says it has no role to play in the hacking.
The North however, branded the movie as an “act of terror” and had also proposed a joint investigation into the cyberattack – a proposal that the US rejected.
Last week, President Barack Obama authorised a new layer of sanctions on several Pyongyang institutions and officials, in the wake of the alleged cyberattack.
Slamming the sanctions, the North Korean Foreign ministry in a statement said, "The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap `sanctions`... patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the (North)".
The sanctions would further lead the North to sharpen the sword of Songuun (referring to its policy of military-first)” , the ministry spokesman told the state-run KCNA news agency.
The North Korea's Foreign Ministry accused the US of "groundlessly" stirring up hostility toward Pyongyang and claimed that the new sanctions would not weaken the country's military.
The US on Friday sanctioned 10 North Korean government officials and three organizations, including Pyongyang's primary intelligence agency and state-run arms dealer, on what the White House described as an opening move in the respond toward the cyberattack on Sony.
The sanctions will have limited effect as North Korea already is under tough U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program. President Barack Obama also warned Pyongyang that the US is considering whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, which could jeopardize aid to the country on a global scale.
With Agency inputs