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U.S. rejects North Korea's 'absurd' demand for joint investigation into Sony cyberattack


The United States representative to the United Nations on Monday rejected the idea of a joint North Korea-U.S. investigation into the cyberattack against Sony Pictures— an attack the U.S. says was orchestrated by North Korea.

Permanent U.N. Representative Samantha Power said Monday in New York that North Korea carried out a "significant cyberattack… in response to a Hollywood comedy portraying a farcical assassination plot." The movie, titled The Interview, involved the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.56.11 AM Samantha Power, the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Monday at the U.N. headquarters. The U.N. Security Council placed North Korea's bleak human rights situation on its agenda Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity.
Image: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Power said the hackers stole "massive quantities of personal and commercial data," and threatened Sony employers involved in the movie by warning them to "remember the 11th of September."

"North Korea also threatened the United States with 'serious consequences' if our country did not conduct a joint investigation with the DPRK – into an attack that they carried out," she added. "This is absurd."

"Yet it is exactly the kind of behavior we have come to expect from a regime that threatened to take 'merciless countermeasures' against the U.S. over a Hollywood comedy, and has no qualms about holding tens of thousands of people in harrowing gulags," she added. "We cannot give in to threats or intimidation of any kind."

Power's remarks were made during a U.N. Security Council session on the human rights situation in North Korea. Power used that meeting to argue that he "widespread and systematic" human right violations in North Korea post a threat to international peace and security.

A U.N. report from February found evidence of numerous human rights abuses, including forcing prisoners to scavenge for food, and routinely raping prisoners.

"In one case in which a victim became pregnant and gave birth, the former guard reported that prison officials cooked her baby and fed it to their dogs," Power said. "This sounds unbelievable and unthinkable; yet this is what a former guard told the Commission of Inquiry at a public hearing."

The report estimates that as many as 120,000 people are being held in prison camps throughout the country.

Power called on the Security Council meeting to push for the dismantling of North Korea's prison camps and access to the country by human rights observers.

"Knowing the utter improbability of North Korea making those and a long list of other necessary changes, it is incumbent on the Security Council to consider the Commission of Inquiry's recommendation that the situation in North Korea be referred to the International Criminal Court and to consider other appropriate action on accountability – as 116 Member States have urged the Council to do," she said.

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