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Obama writes letter to North Korea's Kim

world Updated: Dec 16, 2009 20:00 IST

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US President Barack Obama has written a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il amid efforts by the United States to persuade Pyongyang to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

The letter was delivered by US special envoy Stephen Bosworth during his three-day trip to North Korea last week. A US official confirmed the letter was sent but would not discuss its contents.

North Korea hinted last Friday following the talks with Bosworth that it could end its year-long boycott of the six-party nuclear negotiations with the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Bosworth's meetings capped months of maneuvering to reduce tensions after North Korea test-fired missiles and set off a nuclear device, triggering UN sanctions.

Bosworth said in China after his visit that patience would be needed in seeking the resumption of the six-party talks, which are aimed at persuading Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

It is relatively rare for a US president to send a personal letter to the North Korean leader, though President George W Bush sent one to Kim in December 2007. Bush's letter raised the possibility of normalized relations in exchange for North Korea's full disclosure of its nuclear programs.