World

Trump wants money for S. Korea missiles and a new trade pact

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) missile system now being deployed in South Korea would cost about US$1 billion (S$1.39 billion) and questioned why the US is paying for it.

"I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid," Mr Trump said.

Asked about the remarks, South Korea's defence ministry said in a statement that there is no change to the existing agreement that Seoul provides land for the deployment while Washington shoulders the cost of installing and operating the system.

A top foreign policy adviser to South Korean presidential front runner Moon Jae In said Mr Trump's suggestion would be an "impossible option" because the US military operates the system.

The US military started the deployment of Thaad early last month.

Mr Moon, the favourite to win South Korea's presidential election on May 9, has called for deployment to be delayed until after the next administration can review the decision.

Mr Trump also said yesterday that he will either renegotiate or terminate what he called a "horrible" free trade deal with South Korea.

Mr Trump called the five-year-old trade pact with South Korea "unacceptable" and said it would be targeted for renegotiation after his administration completes a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. His comments stunned South Korean financial markets, sending Seoul stocks and the won currency into reverse.- REUTERS

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