Washington's top diplomat to Seoul says "everything is possible" for North Korea, so long as the communist regime demonstrates it is serious about denuclearizing, not just in words, but in action.
Speaking in front of veteran journalists in Seoul on Wednesday, US Ambassador Kathleen Stephens warned that North Korea would be on a "dead-end road," unless it recommits to its obligations as stated in the 2005 six-party joint agreement.
[Interview : Kathleen Stephens, US Ambassador to S. Korea] "As envisioned in the 2005 joint statement of principles, which I will remind you not only commits the six parties to the denuclearized Korean Peninsula but also envisions normalized relations between the DPRK and the US, between the DPRK and Japan, a peace treaty, a permanent peace between the North and the South, a security mechanism in the region, as well as an extensive economic and energy assistance."
As part of its constant flip-flop between belligerence and openness to dialogue, the Kim Jong-il regime has conducted two nuclear tests since 2006 and just last November claimed it began enriching uranium, but for peaceful purposes.
And while the members to the six-party dialogue consider an improvement in inter-Korean relations first priority, Stephens said the two Koreas should find ways to settle outstanding issues.
This, as Seoul demands an apology from Pyeongyang for sinking the warship Cheonan and shelling Yeonpyeong Island last year, attacks that sacrificed the lives of 50 South Koreans.
On trade, the American diplomat called for a prompt ratification of the Korea-US FTA by both sides' legislatures,.. as the pact agreed back in 2007 is expected to strengthen economic activities and the employment sector in both countries.
[Interview : Kathleen Stephens, US Ambassador to S. Korea] "This is a democratic process and I hope that we will over the next coming weeks and months, in both countries move forward with a healthy debate and have our legislators act."
Citing US President Barack Obama's remark that the Seoul-Washington relationship has never been more stronger than now, the US ambassador added there still is unfinished business that requires the two allies' cooperation to achieve a united, peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.