Over the weekend, the U.S. asked China to help it stop North Korean hackers. Now, China has publicly stated that, while it condemns cyberattacks, it believes that there is no proof that North Korea was responsible for the recent hacks of Sony Pictures.

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In the statement, reports Reuters, China made no reference to requests from United States for joint action. Instead, it explained:

"[We have] reaffirmed China's relevant position [to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry], emphasizing China opposes all forms of cyberattacks and cyber terrorism... Before making any conclusions there has to be a full (accounting of) the facts and foundation. China will handle it in accordance with relevant international and Chinese laws according to the facts."

China is, of course, North Korea's only major ally, and it's fair to say that the U.S.-China relationship is uneasy, especially on matters of digital security. So it's hardly surprising that China is taking a cautious approach. The news will be disappointing for U.S. officials, though, who on Saturday apparently explained to the New York Times:

"What we are looking for is a blocking action, something that would cripple their efforts to carry out attacks. [China's] cooperation would be critical, since virtually all of North Korea's telecommunications run through Chinese-operated networks."

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Quite where that leaves us is anybody's guess. The weaknesses exploited at Sony Pictures no doubt exist elsewhere, and with North Korea now threatening larger targets, the U.S. government has some careful manoeuvring ahead of it. [Reuters]

Image by Shutterstock / Andersphoto

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