Tags: US | Obama | North | Korea

Obama Writes Letter to North Korean Leader

Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 09:20 AM


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 Tuesday.

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.

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 Tuesday night that the letter had been delivered.

Bosworth's talks were the Obama administration's first high-level contact with North Korea. He said after leaving the North on Thursday that the two sides reached a "common understanding" on the need to restart the nuclear negotiations, which involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, the U.S. and Russia. The six-party talks are aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Bosworth, who visited the capitals of all those countries last week and this, is scheduled to brief reporters about his trip on Wednesday at the State Department.

After returning to Washington from Moscow on Tuesday, Bosworth held closed-door talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss his visit to North Korea, his first to the country in his current position.

Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also sent personal letters to Kim, although not as early in their terms as did Obama. Bush wrote Kim in December 2007, raising the possibility of normalized relations if the North Korean leader fully disclosed his nuclear programs by year's end. Bush's letter was seen as a turnabout for a president who had labeled the communist regime part of an "axis of evil," along with Iran and prewar Iraq.

Clinton wrote to Kim in October 1994, promising to organize financing for a $4 billion nuclear plant to replace equipment suspected of making plutonium for nuclear weapons if the North kept its new agreement to give up the equipment. Then-Ambassador-at-Large Robert Gallucci told reporters the letter was addressed "To The Supreme Leader of the DPRK" — the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Post said efforts early in Bush's term to send a letter were stymied by an intense debate over whether to use an honorific such as "his excellency" to address Kim.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Mali's Islamists Withdraw Cease-Fire Pledge

Friday, 04 Jan 2013 13:06 PM

Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza on Friday for the first time since they we . . .

Fmr. CIA Director Hayden: Iran Nuclear Crisis Gets 'Scarier'

Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012 18:11 PM

 . . .

Join Fmr. CIA Director for Special Iran Briefing, Assess the Danger

Friday, 13 Jul 2012 12:27 PM

 . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved