North Korea has lashed out against the United States, calling President Barack Obama a “monkey” and “reckless” following another internet and mobile phone network shutdown in the country on Saturday.
North Korea’s ruling body, the National Defence Commission (NDC) led by state leader Kim Jong Un, told the Korean Central News Agency that “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.”
The NDC has blamed the United States for the shutdowns following the controversial release of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures as retaliation for the network hacks perpetrated against the company. North Korea continues to maintain no involvement in the incident despite U.S. intelligence officials having reason to believe the hacks originated there, though it remains vocal about its opposition to the film.
A spokesman for the NDC criticized the U.S. for screening the “dishonest and reactionary movie hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK [North Korea] and agitating terrorism.” The statement also said, “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 U.S. has denied any involvement in the Internet outages.
In November, Sony Pictures’ computer network was hacked by a group named Guardians of Peace which leaked 5 unreleased films, private emails, and confidential data about the company’s employees. The invasion was later revealed as a means to stop the release of the film The Interview,which portrays the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
On December 16, the hacker group threatened to attack anyone going to theaters to see the movie during the holiday season, telling the public to “remember the 11th of September, 2001.” The movie was scheduled to be released on December 25, but Sony Pictures canceled the film in response to many large theater chains refusing to screen it due to the threats.
Sony Pictures later reconsidered the cancellation due to pressure from the film industry and the U.S. government. On December 24, the movie was made available to viewers on video streaming outlets such as YouTube and Google Play. The following day, on December 25, a limited release of the film opened at 300 art house and independent theaters across the country.
Following the threats, Obama promised response the North Korean government regarding the hacks, but did not give specifics as to how that would be carried out.
The language used by the NDC against President Obama is seen to be purposefully chosen to cause racial offense. What lengths North Korea will go to continue its claim the U.S. caused the shutdowns is unknown, though it seems obvious they plan to fight dirty.