SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea on Saturday proposed a joint investigation with the US into the hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, warning of “serious” consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes will prove Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyberattack.
The proposal was seen as a typical ploy by the North to try to show that it is sincere, even though it likely knows the US would never accept its offer for a joint investigation, analysts said.
US officials blame North Korea for the hacking, citing the tools used in the Sony attack and previous hacks linked to the North, and have vowed a response. The break-in resulted in the disclosure of tens of thousands of confidential Sony emails and business files, and escalated to terrorist threats that caused Sony to cancel the Christmas Day release of the movie “The Interview”. The comedy is about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
On Saturday, an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman in Pyongyang said North Korea knows how to prove it’s not responsible for the hacking, saying Washington is slandering Pyongyang by spreading unfounded rumours.
“The US should bear in mind that it will face serious consequences in case it rejects our proposal for joint investigation and presses for what it called counter-measures while finding fault with” North Korea, the spokesman said in a statement carried by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA.
“We have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case without resorting to torture, as what the CIA does,” he said, adding that the US lacks any specific evidence tying North Korea to the hacking.
Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul’s Dongguk University, called the North’s proposal a “typical” tactic the country has taken in similar disputes with rival countries. In 2010, North Korea proposed a joint investigation after a South Korea-led international team concluded that the North was behind a torpedo attack that killed 46 South Korean sailors, though Pyongyang denied its involvement. South Korea rejected the North’s offer for the joint probe.