Can I call South Korea plain ole Korea? Because to the best of my knowledge, the "government" to the north of the DMZ is about as legitimate as any claim I ever make to athletic achievement. The Wall Street Journal reports the US and South Korea have reconfigured their contingency plan for dealing with their friendly neighbor to the north:
Military officials from the U.S. and South Korea signed the "combined counterprovocation plan" a few weeks after North Korea's latest nuclear test alarmed the international community and prompted the United Nations to impose additional sanctions.
Bound by a bilateral alliance treaty, the U.S. is responsible for protecting South Korea if it comes under enemy attack, though some Koreans have pressed for more detail over how that would play out in the event of an emergency. The latest plan spells out "procedures for consultation and action" for a combined response, the U.S. forces said, without providing further details.
Despite the lack of specifics, the agreement is the latest example of how the U.S. is trying to underline its continued commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, as U.S. allies increasingly turn to Washington for reassurance that it will intervene if a military conflict occurs, even as domestic austerity pressure forces the Pentagon to reduce its defense spending. In another recent step, top military officials from the U.S. and Japan met in Honolulu late last week to discuss their joint plan to respond to contingencies over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute between Japan and China.