U.S., South Korea reach agreement on response to North's provocations

The U.S. military announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement with South Korea on how provocations from North Korea would be countered.

The deal, signed on Friday, delineates the role of U.S. forces in dealing with what are being branded local clashes and skirmishes by South Korean military officials, including the 2010 shelling of an island near the border by the North that killed four South Koreans, the New York Times reports.

The new contingency plans, described as "South Korean-led, U.S.-supported," outline types of provocations and what would be the resulting response for each, according to South Korean officials. The two countries hope to deter further provocations with the plans.

"By completing this plan, we improved our combined readiness posture to allow us to immediately and decisively respond to any North Korean provocation," a joint statement from the two allies said, the New York Times reports.

Specifics about how far the United States' supporting role would go were not revealed, particularly what provocations would result in American troops joining a South Korean counterattack against the North.

South Korea has warned in recent weeks that it would attack not only the origin of the North Korean provocation but also "its supporting forces and its commanding post" if provoked, according to the New York Times.

The plan was signed by top American commander in South Korea Gen. James D. Thurman and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South Korean military Gen. Jung Seung-jo.