North Korea denies it hacked UN sanctions committee database

North Korea on Wednesday denied hacking the database of a UN committee tasked with monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang, and called on Washington to focus on peace efforts ahead of a planned summit between the countries’ leaders.

In a statement, the North Korean mission at the UN said Pyongyang “has never recognized the illegal and unlawful Security Council’s ‘sanctions resolutions'” and “is not interested in what the Sanctions Committee does,” adding the idea that it had carried out a hacking operation was “nonsense.”

“The US and hostile forces should squarely recognize the trend of the times and make efforts to do the work helpful to detente and (the) peace process on the Korean peninsula rather than manipulating plots with that hacking incident,” the statement concluded.

The mission added the US had made the hacking accusations during a closed-door Sanctions Committee meeting.

But the US mission denied having made such a claim. “These quotes and comments attributed to the US delegation are entirely false,” a spokesman said.

UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea (AFP / AFP)

US pressure saw the UN impose three sets of economic sanctions against North Korea last year over its nuclear weapons programs, notably affecting sectors such as coal, iron, fishing, textiles and oil.

The latest exchange comes as ties between the US and North Korea have rapidly warmed, with a historic summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un set to be held within a matter of weeks.

It comes on the heels of a summit between Kim and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, spurring hope for a final settlement to end a decades-long conflict.