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China tells US that it opposes cyberattacks, but does not directly condemn Sony hackings

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BEIJING — China told the U.S. that it is against cyberattacks and opposes any nation or individual launching such attacks from a third country, but did not directly condemn the Sony hackings that Washington has blamed on North Korea, China's foreign ministry said Monday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone conversation Sunday night, but did not blame North Korea for the hackings against Sony Pictures, the ministry said in a statement.

Sony Pictures canceled the release of the movie "The Interview," a comedy that revolves around the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after receiving threats of terrorist attacks from hackers. U.S. federal investigators have connected the hackings to North Korea.

The United States has reached out to China, North Korea's key ally, for help as President Barack Obama weighs possible responses to the cyberattack. Although China holds considerable leverage over the North and its technological infrastructure, involving Beijing could pose complications because Obama has pointedly accused China of engaging in its own acts of cybertheft.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned Monday against suggesting that China was used as a platform for the attacks without sufficient evidence.

"I think to arrive at any conclusion, sufficient facts and evidence are needed," Hua said at a daily news briefing. "China will handle the case on the basis of facts, international laws and Chinese laws."

Hua reiterated Beijing's stance on cybercrime, but also did not directly condemn the Sony hackings or mention North Korea. She said Wang told Kerry that "China will handle the case on the basis of facts, international laws and norms, and Chinese laws."

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