North Korea called U.S. President Barack Obama a “monkey” and blamed Washington on Saturday for Internet outages it has experienced during a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of the film studio Sony Pictures. The National Defense Commission, the North’s ruling body chaired by state leader Kim Jong Un, said Obama was responsible for Sony’s belated decision to release the action comedy “The Interview”, which depicts a plot to assassinate Kim. “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unnamed spokesman for the commission said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, using a term seemingly designed to cause racial offense that North Korea has resorted to previously.
In Hawaii, where Obama is vacationing, a White House official said the administration had no immediate comment on the latest North Korean statement blaming the United States for the Internet outages and insulting the president. Sony canceled the release of the film when large cinema chains refused to screen it following threats of violence from hackers, but then put it out on limited release after Obama said Sony was caving in to North Korean pressure.
Obama promised retaliation against North Korea, but did not specify what form it would take. North Korea’s main Internet sites suffered intermittent disruptions this week, including a complete outage of nearly nine hours, before links were largely restored on Tuesday. But its Internet and 3G mobile networks were paralyzed again on Saturday evening, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported, and the North Korean government blamed the United States for systemic instability in the country’s networks.