BEIJING (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — China says it has told the U.S. it is against cyberattacks and opposes any nation or individual launching such attacks from a third country, but did not directly condemn the Sony hackings that Washington has blamed on North Korea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone conversation Sunday night, but did not blame North Korea for the hackings of Sony Pictures, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned Monday against suggesting that China was used as a platform for the attacks without sufficient evidence.
Sony Pictures canceled the release of “The Interview” after receiving threats of terrorist attacks from hackers. U.S. federal investigators have connected the hackings to North Korea.
For its part, North Korea claims President Barack Obama is “recklessly” spreading rumors that it orchestrated the cyberattack, and warned of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism.”
Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea’s massive propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington. But a long statement from the powerful National Defense Commission late Sunday also underscores Pyongyang’s sensitivity at a movie whose plot focuses on the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un, who is the beneficiary of a decades-long cult of personality built around his family dynasty.
Obama, who promised to respond “proportionately” to the attack, told CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview broadcast Sunday that Washington is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism
The National Defense Commission, led by Kim, warned that its 1.2 million-member army is ready to use all types of warfare against the U.S.
“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the ‘symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” said the commission’s Policy Department in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea has said it knows how to prove it had nothing to do with the hacking and proposed a joint investigation with the U.S.
North Korea and the U.S., which fought each other in the 1950-53 Korean War, remain technically in a state of war because the conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea to deter aggression from North Korea.
The rivals are locked in an international standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses. In the spring of last year, tension dramatically rose after North Korea issued a string of fiery threats to launch nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul.
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