North Korea must first show sincerity and a willingness to denuclearize and fulfill its international obligations.
That is what South Korea and the United States once again demanded of the North to demonstrate, after Seoul and Washington's top nuclear negotiators held talks in the South Korean capital on Thursday.
The chief representatives to the six-party talks reaffirmed their joint stance on the preconditions that must be met to reopen the multilateral roundtable after assessing the North's nuclear situation during two rounds of inter-Korean and Pyeongyang-Washington dialogues this year.
[Interview : Lim Sung-nam, S. Korea's top nuclear envoy] "I believe that North Korea clearly understands our two countries' message and I hope the North makes the right decision concerning these issues in the near future."
South Korea, the US and Japan demand that the North first give up all nuclear activities, including its uranium enrichment program, before returning to the six-party talks that have been suspended for three years.
Pyeongyang, however, recently revealed it has made progress, in developing low-enriched uranium to generate power from its light-water nuclear reactors.
[Interview : Glyn Davies, US Special Representative for N. Korea Policy] "We are not interested in talks for talks' sake. They need to come to us, they need to indicate to us that they are prepared to take concrete steps to make it worth our while to get back into the six-party process. Part of that process is that we need to see that there is the appropriate sort of engagement between North and South Korea."
The newly appointed US point man on the North also emphasized how normalized inter-Korean relations are essential in dealing with the North Korean issue.
[Reporter : Choi You-sun
firstname.lastname@example.org] "When asked whether nutritional aid to North Korea would resume even if the denuclearization issue were not resolved, both the South Korean and US officials stressed that humanitarian concerns in the North will not be linked to any other political or security-related issues.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News."