updated 8/24/2004 11:33:06 AM ET 2004-08-24T15:33:06

The White House said Tuesday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Il is engaging in “more bluster” by criticizing President Bush as a leader who is fomenting world unrest.

The North Korean leader said on Monday that the U.S. president had turned “a peaceful world into a pandemonium unprecedented in history” and called Bush “a political imbecile.”

Last week, Bush referred to the North Korean leader as a “tyrant.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that North Korea needs to end its nuclear weapons program.

The United States and the other countries involved in talks with North Korea “are sending a clear message” that North Korea should end its nuclear program and realize “the benefits of the international community,” said McClellan.

The next round of talks — which also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea — are supposed to take place by the end of September. North Korea recently threw those plans into doubt by saying it won’t attend working meetings to prepare for the larger talks.

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