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North Korea Hits Back at US Sanctions

  • VOA News

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, pays his respects to his grandfather and North Korea founder, Kim Il Sung, and his father, Kim Jong Il, at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Jan. 1, 2015.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, pays his respects to his grandfather and North Korea founder, Kim Il Sung, and his father, Kim Jong Il, at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Jan. 1, 2015.

North Korea has lashed out at the United States for imposing new sanctions as punishment for allegedly hacking the computers of Sony Pictures.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency quotes the Foreign Ministry spokesman calling the sanctions "hostile and repressive," and saying they will only harden Pyongyang's will and resolution to defend the sovereignty of the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday signed an executive order authorizing the latest sanctions targeting three organizations and 10 individuals. White House officials said the sanctions are just a first step in seeking to punish North Korea for numerous provocations, including the cyber-attack.

A Treasury Department statement said the new sanctions will toughen those already in place against North Korea by denying designated people access to the U.S. financial system, as well as preventing U.S. citizens from engaging in dealings with North Korea.

The three organizations include: North Korea's primary intelligence arm, the Reconnaissance General Bureau; its state arms dealer, the Korea Mining development Trading Corporation; and the scientific research agency, Korea Tangun Trading Corporation. The 10 individuals named are directly connected with one of the three organizations or the North Korean government.

In mid-December, Obama pledged that the United States would offer a "proportional response" to the hacking of computer systems at Sony, linked to the release of a satirical film that depicted an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The U.S. has had sanctions in place against North Korea in relation to the North's nuclear program. This is the first time sanctions have been imposed related to cyber-security.

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