The Business Times

Sony hacking stirs US-North Korea diplomatic storm

The unfolding episode underlines the potential for business decisions to become intertwined with foreign relations among states and companies.

Published Mon, Dec 22, 2014 · 09:50 PM

PRESIDENT Barack Obama declared on Sunday that the US was considering putting North Korea on its list of state sponsors of terrorism following the cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. While Mr Obama said that the cyber move was not an "act of war", as Republican Senator John McCain has declared, he has pledged that Washington will respond at a time and manner of its own choosing.

This latest twist in what is becoming a significant diplomatic incident follows Pyongyang's offer on Saturday to host a joint inquiry with Washington into the attack. Despite Mr Obama's assertion that there is evidence from the FBI that the North Korean regime was behind the cyber attack, the latter has criticised the US government for "spreading groundless allegations" and warned of "grave consequences" if the administration refuses the offer of a joint inquiry.

The incident has put Sony Pictures Entertainment, the US subsidiary of Japanese-headquartered multinational Sony, in the international diplomatic spotlight. Firstly, the firm has been condemned by North Korea for making the satirical movie The Interview, the fictional plot of which includes a plan to assassinate its leader Kim Jong-un, for undermining the "dignity of (the country's) supreme leadership".

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