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Trump's latest remarks on trade, THAAD land like bombshell in S. Korea

Updated: 2017-04-28 18:33:40 KST

U.S. President Donald Trump came down hard on South Korea during his exclusive interview with Reuters, raising doubts about two pillars of their bilateral relationship. Trump says he wants a renegotiation or termination of the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and that Seoul should pay for the THAAD missile defense system.

The bilateral trade pact was a recurring theme during Trump's presidential campaign and he repeatedly threatened to pull out of the (quote) "job killing deal." If Trump's comments sound familiar "It's unacceptable. It's a horrible deal made by Hillary. It's a horrible deal. And we're going to renegotiate that deal, or terminate it."

it's because Vice President Mike Pence had said during a recent visit to Seoul that the U.S. would work to revise the FTA.

Trump also dropped a bombshell about the THAAD missile defense system.

He said Seoul should pay for the U.S. military hardware, which he estimated at a staggering one billion U.S. dollars.

"So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. Nobody is going to do that. Why are we paying a billion dollars? It's a billion-dollar system. It's phenomenal. It's the most incredible equipment you have ever seen. It shoots missiles right out of the sky. And it protects them. I want to protect them. We are going to protect them. But they should pay for that. And they understand that."

But an official from Seoul's foreign ministry said it has never been informed of related information.
Trump's comments also appear to go against the current Status of Forces Agreement between the two countries, which says Washington should foot the bill for the deployment and operation of a single THAAD system, while Seoul pays for the land and relevant facilities.

(Standup) "The THAAD deployment is a key issue in the presidential election set for May 9th. Frontrunner Moon Jae-in has said the deployment should be delayed until a new administration takes office, even as the U.S. accelerates the installation.

Connie Kim, Arirang News."

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