I mean that as in a three-way agreement to go their own way if the six-party talks to denuclearize North Korea fail. That's what the Los Angeles Times is asking:
The U.S. and its Asian allies are laying the groundwork for a tougher stance toward North Korea should negotiations with China and Russia fail to yield a new strategy to force the government in Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program, defense officials said Saturday.This is only possible because of a change of leadership. While it might have occurred if Roh and Obama were both president, and possibly with Bush and Lee both in power, I don't think it would have happened when we had Roh and Bush. Too much baggage.
In a meeting Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told his South Korean and Japanese counterparts that they should begin thinking about measures the three countries could take unilaterally if the so-called six-party talks continued to founder.
"The secretary raised the notion that we should think about this as we are pursuing the six-party talks," said a senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol. "We ought to think about what more we need to do should they not prove successful."