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North Korea denies hacking Sony, wants joint probe with US

North Korea said on Saturday US accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander” and that it wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States.

An unnamed spokesman of the North`s foreign ministry said there would be serious consequences if Washington refused to agree to the probe and continued to accuse Pyongyang, according to North Korea`s UN mission and the official KCNA news agency.

On Friday, President Barack Obama blamed North Korea for the devastating cyberattack, which had led to the Hollywood studio cancelling the imminent release of “The Interview”, a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In its first substantive response to Obama`s statement, the isolated North Korea said it could prove it had nothing to do with the hacking attack.
“We propose to conduct a joint investigation with the US in response to groundless slander being perpetrated by the US by mobilizing public opinion,” the North Korean spokesman was cited as saying by KCNA.

“If the US refuses to accept our proposal for a joint investigation and continues to talk about some kind of response by dragging us into the case, it must remember there will be grave consequences,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman was quoted as making similar remarks in a statement issued later by North Korea`s U.N. mission.

There was no immediate comment on Pyongyang`s response from the White House or the State Department.

Earlier, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it had determined that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony, saying Pyongyang`s actions fell “outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior”.

Obama said North Korea appeared to have acted alone. Washington began consultations with Japan, China, South Korea and Russia seeking their assistance in reining in North Korea.

Japan and South Korea said they would cooperate. China, North Korea`s only major ally, has yet to respond, but a Beijing-run newspaper said “The Interview” was not a movie for Hollywood and US society to be proud of.

“The vicious mocking of Kim is only a result of senseless cultural arrogance,” the newspaper said.

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