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Trump Calls for FTA Renegotiation and $1Bln for THAAD

KBS World Radio

2017-04-28 13:09:33

Anchor: The U.S. President Donald Trump suggested charging Seoul with a one-billion dollar bill for the deployment of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system. He also hinted at his intentions to terminate the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement unless the deal is renegotiated for better trade terms for the U.S.

Kim Bum-soo has more on Trump's interview with Reuters.

Report: U.S. President Donald Trump said he wants South Korea to pay one billion dollars for the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, the American president revealed his plans for the U.S. missile shield the allies of South Korea and the U.S. began deploying on the Korean Peninsula.

[Sound bite: U.S. President Donald Trump]
"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."

The cost of a THAAD battery is estimated at around one-point-two billion dollars. The U.S. military on Wednesday brought in a THAAD battery of six launchers, a radar and other key equipment to the planned deployment site in southeast Korea. The missile interceptor system is already operational.

Also during the interview at the Oval Office, Trump called for renegotiating or terminating the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

[Sound bite: U.S. President Donald Trump]
"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."
("When are you going to announce that?")
"Very soon. I'm announcing it now."

The free trade pact is supposed to be terminated 180 days after one side notifies its partner of its intention to finish the deal.

An official at Seoul's trade ministry said that it is too early to respond to the U.S. president's remarks until his intentions become clearer.

The South Korean defense ministry said the U.S. is responsible for the cost of operating the anti-missile battery. In a statement on Friday, the ministry pointed to the Status of Forces Agreement which requires Seoul to provide the site for the THAAD system and build related facilities, but not the operational cost.

Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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