North Korea confirms Kim received Obama letter


Barack Obama, though refrained from divulging its contents.

The letter was presented by U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth to First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju on Dec. 9 during his visit to the North, the official Korean Central News Agency reported in a brief dispatch from Pyongyang.

“Leader Kim Jong Il received a personal letter from Barack Obama, president of the United States of America,” KCNA said. The report said nothing of the letter’s contents.

The State Department said this week that Bosworth took Obama’s letter to Pyongyang in an attempt to bring North Korea back to six-nation talks aimed at its nuclear disarmament. The U.S. has also yet to announce the letter’s contents.

Bosworth’s three-day visit last week marked the Obama Administration’s first high-level talks with North Korea. Bosworth said he did not meet Kim.

Both Washington and Pyongyang agreed during the trip on the need to resume the negotiations, but North Korea did not make a firm commitment on when it would rejoin them. Bosworth said Wednesday in Washington that he did not know when the talks might begin.

The negotiations, which began in late 2003, also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. They are aimed at getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs in exchange for economic aid and political concessions.