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Pyongyang Blames U.S. Amid Reports Of New Internet Outages

A poster for <em>The Interview</em> stands on display outside a movie theater in Glendora, Calif., on Wednesday.
Damian Dovarganes
A poster for The Interview stands on display outside a movie theater in Glendora, Calif., on Wednesday.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET

North Korea is blaming the United States for Internet outages experienced by the Asian nation last week, accusing President Obama of being "reckless in words and deeds" and comparing the U.S. to "children with runny noses."

Pyongyang's latest remarks come days after North Korea's limited Internet connection ground to a halt in the wake of an earlier hack against U.S.-based Sony Pictures Entertainment that the White House has blamed on North Korea.

China's Xinhua news agency reports today that North Korea's Internet and 3G mobile phone networks have been paralyzed once again.

"The United States, with its large physical size and oblivious to the shame of playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would, has begun disrupting the Internet operations of the main media outlets of our republic," the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by the country's official KCNA news agency.

"It is truly laughable," a spokesman said.

The commission also referred to Obama as a "monkey inhabiting a tropical forest."

The U.S. has been silent on the cause of the North Korean outages, but Obama earlier had promised a response to the Sony hack. U.S. officials have also said that the attack on Sony contains North Korea's digital fingerprints and the president has called the action "cybervandalism."

Sony is believed to have been targeted for its film The Interview, a satire about a fictional assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The studio originally cancelled the planned Christmas release of the film over Pyongyang's threats of violence, but later decided on a partial theatrical release coupled with Internet streaming of the movie.

The latest North Korean remarks follow similar name-calling and threats issued last week.

Despite U.S. claims that Pyongyang is behind the original Sony hacking, a number of experts have expressed skepticism. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports that the claims that North Korea was directly responsible for the Sony hack "have raised eyebrows among private security researchers. Many just don't believe it."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.