North Korea vowed to pursue its ‘Songun’ military-first policy in a statement issued Sunday, state media reported, two days after the U.S. announced further sanctions in response to the cyber attack on Sony Pictures.
"The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap sanctions against the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the DPRK," a foreign ministry spokesman said, reported by the Korean Central News Agency.
On Friday the U.S. targeted three North Korean agencies and 10 individuals as it added to a long list of existing sanctions against Pyongyang.
While the punishment is viewed as largely symbolic given the heavy restrictions already placed on the North, the U.S. described the sanctions as "the first aspect" of its response to the alleged North Korean attack on Sony.
The North added that it would harden its will and resolution" to defend its sovereignty.”
Songun is an ideology that gives the North’s military supremacy in matters of state and the allocation of resources and is seen as particularly intractable in the West’s efforts to persuade the North, the world’s most militarized nation, to give up nuclear weapons.
The fresh sanctions were designed to further isolate the North's defense industry, analysts said. The bodies targeted were the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's main intelligence agency; the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, heavily involved in the arms trade; and the Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, which supports defense research.
The Sony hack and associated threats, which began in November, almost saw Sony cancel the Christmas Day release of "The Interview,” a comedy featuring the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pyongyang has denied involvement and blamed the U.S. for lengthy Internet outages in the North days after the U.S officially named it as being behind the Sony hack.
The U.S. has around 28,500 military personnel stationed in South Korea, which is still technically at war with the North due to the absence of a peace treaty following the 1950-53 war.