US ambassador to Seoul, Kathleen Stephens, says North Korea must demonstrate its seriousness to denuclearize not just in words but through action for there to be a meaningful result at the six-party nuclear talks.
In an interview with Yonhap News before the end of her ambassadorship next month, Stephens referred to what US President Barack Obama calls the "seriousness of purpose," ahead of an anticipated high-level meeting between the US and North Korea.
Expressing her support for inter-Korean dialogue such as the recent denuclearization talks in Beijing, Stephens said improved relations with South Korea and a pledge to abide by the 2005 joint six-party statement would also help the multilateral negotiations bear fruit.
She also said that restarting the delivery of food aid to the North would be examined soley as a humanitarian issue, separate from political developments.
On the Korea-US free trade agreement, the ambassador said the two sides' legislatures should promptly ratify the pact as further delay will only lead to lost opportunities.
She also expressed optimism that the US Congress will approve the deal when the time is right, as Washington has set January 1st, 2012 as the date to put the trade agreement into effect.
Stephens, who finishes her three-year term in Seoul after Korean President Lee Myung-bak's state visit to Washington next month, plans to research Korea-US relations and Korea's unique development and democratization experiences as a visiting diplomat at Georgetown University.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.