March 25 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and South Korea signed a contingency plan of action against attacks from North Korea, which this month threatened preemptive nuclear strikes against the two allies.
General James Thurman, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, signed the agreement on March 22 with South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Jung Seung Jo, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said today in a statement on its website.
The document outlines South Korean-led, U.S.-backed action against various scenarios from a North Korean provocation, the ministry said. The two militaries decided to draft a joint blueprint after North Korea shelled the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong in November 2010.
Inter-Korean tensions are the highest at least since the 2010 attack after Kim Jong Un’s regime detonated a nuclear device in February. The U.S. and South Korea are in the middle of military drills that North Korea has said put the peninsula on the brink of war, and the Obama administration is boosting its regional anti-missile defenses as a result.
“By completing this plan, we improved our combined readiness posture to allow us to immediately and decisively respond to any North Korean provocation,” the allies said in an e-mailed statement. “The completed plan includes procedures for consultation and action to allow for a strong and decisive combined ROK-US response.”
ROK stands for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.
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