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Bush Administration Dismisses N. Korean Threat to Withdraw from Armistice

The White House has dismissed North Korea's threat to pull out of the truce that ended the Korean War. U.S. officials say it is just another example of escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the United States has heard it all before. "North Korea does have a history, that they have repeated numerous times and in numerous ways, of using strident rhetoric as a way to blackmail other nations into providing economic or other benefits to the North Koreans," said the spokesman.

Mr. Fleischer said that strategy will not work. He stressed that despite North Korean calls for one-on-one talks with the United States, the Bush administration will continue to pursue a multi-national solution to the dispute about Pyongyang's nuclear-weapons program. "The president is going to continue to work with a diplomatic approach with China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan," he said.

The threat from Pyongyang was attributed to a statement by a spokesman for the Korean People's Army. It warned that North Korea would pull out of the 1953 Korean War armistice if sanctions are imposed.