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Bush Accuses North Korea of Nuclear Blackmail - 2003-04-24

President Bush says North Korea is once again engaging in blackmail by warning that it possesses nuclear weapons. U.S. officials say North Korean diplomats made the claim to American envoys in Beijing.

The president says North Korea is issuing the warning in an effort to win concessions from the United States. "They are back to the old blackmail game," he said.

In an interview with the NBC television network, Mr. Bush said the statement from North Korea backs up his contention that the world must do more to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

He said nations must come together to deal with the problem, noting that Beijing is playing a key role in the case of North Korea, by hosting three-way talks on Pyongyang's nuclear moves. "I look forward to hearing what the Chinese have to say about being rebuffed by the North Koreans," he added.

The Beijing talks ended on Thursday, one day ahead of schedule.