The US is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in the wake of the Sony hacking case, President Barack Obama said.
He made the announcement as the country decides how to respond to the cyber attack that law enforcement has blamed on the communist nation.
Mr Obama described the hacking case as a “very costly, very expensive” example of cyber vandalism, but did not call it an act of war.
In trying to fashion a proportionate response, the president said the US would examine the facts to determine whether North Korea should find itself back on the terrorism sponsors list.
“We’re going to review those through a process that’s already in place,” Mr Obama told CNN.
North Korea spent two decades on the list until the Bush administration removed it in 2008 during nuclear negotiations. Some lawmakers have called for the designation to be restored following the hack that led Sony to cancel the release of a big-budget film that North Korea found offensive.
Only Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba remain on the list, which triggers sanctions that limit US aid and defence exports.
Mr Obama also levelled fresh criticism against Sony over its decision to shelve The Interview despite the company’s insistence that its hand was forced after cinemas refused to show it.
While professing sympathy for Sony’s situation, Mr Obama suggested he might have been able to help address the problem if given the chance.