Unravelling the US-ROK Alliance: Decoding North Korea’s Strategy within the Six-Party Talks





US-South Korea Alliance, negotiations, North Korea, entrapment, Six-Party Talks, nuclear programme


Alliance formation is a calculated decision by parties to determine and affect the outcome of negotiations. Its success depends on several factors, most notably alliance members’ cohesion and convergence of common interests, objectives, and tactics. The focus here is on the United States and South Korea’s alliance during the Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme. Despite early progress in the alliance’s favour, the internal cohesion of the US-South Korea alliance was disrupted due to divergent interests, approaches, and positions regarding North Korea. This research provides a comprehensive analysis of the US-ROK alliance’s impact on the Six-Party Talks. While previous studies have explored the negotiations, little attention has been given to the alliance’s role and how it evolved over time, especially in the context of North Korea’s manipulation and its consequences on negotiation outcomes. We assess the success of the alliance and its impact on the negotiation process, considering factors such as cohesion, common interests, objectives, and tactics. Our study adopts a qualitative research approach, utilising an extensive review of relevant literature, official documents, historical records, and primary sources from the Six-Party Talks. The findings underscore the importance of robust and well-coordinated alliances in addressing critical global security challenges. To achieve lasting success in future negotiations, it is imperative for allied parties to forge a shared understanding and strategic convergence in dealing with adversaries like North Korea. Moreover, this research calls for a re-evaluation of alliance dynamics and tactics to strengthen the collective resolve in pursuing international peace and security.

Author Biography

Ian Fleming Zhou, University of Pretoria

Ian Fleming Zhou is the Chairman of the International Association for Political Science Students
(IAPSS) Research Committee on Conflict Security and Crime. He is also currently a member of the
Youth for Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the Editor in Chief of IAPSS’
journal, A Different View. His areas of research are nuclear diplomacy, cybersecurity, foreign policy,
international security, and tactics in negotiations. He is currently associated with the Department of Political Sciences, Unisa, Pretoria, South Afirca. 


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How to Cite

Zhou, Ian Fleming, and Jo-Ansie van Wyk. “Unravelling the US-ROK Alliance: Decoding North Korea’s Strategy Within the Six-Party Talks”. Politeia, 18 pages . https://doi.org/10.25159/2663-6689/11801.



Received 2022-07-26
Accepted 2023-08-24
Published 2023-10-10