Diplomatic sources in Washington say North Korea has sent a complaint directly to the White House over an American movie that depicts the assassination attempt of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un.
The sources, who spoke to VOA's Korean service on the condition of anonymity, say the letter was written by the North’s National Defense Commission - the country’s top decision-making body. They add that the complaint was sent to the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) at the White House.
NSC spokesman Patrick Ventrell says the U.S. would not comment on “private diplomatic correspondence.”
“We are certainly aware of the concerns that are expressed. We’ve always made clear that we are a free country and we have certainly artists and entertainers who are free to make whatever point they wish to make," he said. "The views are obviously those of the filmmaker and the producer of the film maker but we don’t have any role in that. They are free to do whatever they want to do artistically.”
The movie, titled “The Interview,” is set to be released this October. The plot centers around two American celebrity journalists, played by actors Seth Rogan and James Franco, who land an interview with Kim Jong Un and are then ordered by the CIA to assassinate him.
Earlier, the North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In the letter dated June 27, he wrote the production and distribution of the movie should be regarded as “the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war.”
The ambassador urged the United States to “take immediate appropriate actions” to ban the production and distribution of the action comedy or be fully responsible for encouraging and sponsoring terrorism.
The letter included a statement from the North’s Foreign Ministry, in which Pyongyang accused Washington of being “a kingpin of international terrorism and its cesspool.”
The spokesman for the ministry said the movie is “a despicable move to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of DPRK,” referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Ja requested his letter and the Foreign Ministry statement be circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly, under agenda item 110 and of the Security Council. The agenda refers to measures to eliminate international terrorism.
Jee Abbey Lee contributed to this report, which was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.