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Obama writes letter to NKorean leader

US President Barack Obama has written a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as part of an intense effort to draw the reclusive nation back to nuclear disarmament talks.

world Updated: Dec 16, 2009 16:16 IST

US President Barack Obama has written a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as part of an intense effort to draw the reclusive nation back to nuclear disarmament talks, a senior State Department official said.

The letter was delivered to North Korean officials last week by Obama's special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, during a visit to Pyongyang aimed at restarting the stalled negotiations, the official said on Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the diplomacy, would not describe the contents of the letter but said they fit with Bosworth's general message.

"The North Koreans have a choice: continued and further isolation or benefits for returning to the six-party talks and dismantling their nuclear weapons program," the official said.

The official was not aware whether Kim had responded to Obama's missive. Bosworth's visit did not include a meeting with the North Korean leader.

The existence of the letter has been closely held, with the administration insisting to its partners in disarmament talks with North Korea that it not be publicly discussed, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on Tuesday that the letter had been delivered.