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Bush Asks North Korean Leader for Full Nuclear Disclosure

President Bush has sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jung Il, urging Pyongyang to live up to its promise to provide a full declaration of its nuclear program by the end of the year. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says President Bush sent letters Saturday to all the countries involved in the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.

"What the president told Kim Jung Il and the other members of the six-party talks is that we are at a critical juncture and this is when the declaration is due, and that is why he sent the letter," she said.

She says the president repeated his commitment to the six-party process, and called on Pyongyang to come forward with a full declaration of its nuclear program, including uranium enrichment and proliferation. She described the letter to Kim Jung Il as timely, downplaying the notion that it represents a new opening to Pyongyang.

"What the president wanted to remind everybody is that the next step in this is a complete and accurate declaration by the North, and the president expects for it to be accurate," said Perino.

U.S. envoy to the nuclear talks Christopher Hill delivered the president's letter earlier this week while on a rare visit to North Korea.

He described its contents Thursday in Beijing.

"The letter referred to the fact of what we're doing in the six-party process and the need to complete the task and especially to get on with completing the phase two task which includes the complete and correct declaration," said Hill.

Hill expressed optimism that North Korea can meet the December 31 deadline, but acknowledged there are still issues to be resolved.