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DOLE SLAMS CLINTON OVER NORTH KOREA

Sen. Bob Dole is blaming President Clinton for North Korea's latest incursion into the demilitarized zone between it and South Korea.

Accusing Clinton again of coddling communist North Korea, Dole said Friday the president's policy "has only encouraged and invited further provocative acts."In a statement, the probable Republican presidential nominee continued: "It is clear that North Korea continues to undermine the armistice agreement because Pyong-yang believes intimidation will lead to more concessions from the Clinton administration."

The incursion was characterized by the administration as a minor incident.

Five North Korean soldiers ventured to midpoint in the zone and fired shots in the air but were chased back by South Korean soldiers who fired 14 warning shots, the White House, State Department and Pentagon all reported.

"This incident reminds us of the importance that all sides abide by the armistice agreement," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said, referring to the 1953 truce that ended the Korean conflict.

"They shouldn't have done this," he said. And it obviously violates the agreement, Burns added. But, he said, "we think, on a preliminary basis, this was a minor incident."