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Moon says renegotiation of Korea-U.S. FTA not part of summit agreement with Trump

All News 02:09 July 02, 2017

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, July 1 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Saturday that any talk of renegotiation of the free trade pact between South Korea and the United States is "outside of the agreement" he reached in summit talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Moon made the remark during a meeting with South Korean correspondents in Washington, a day after the summit talks with Trump. Talk of renegotiation of the FTA spread widely after Trump said the two countries have already been renegotiating the deal, though a joint statement issued after the meeting made no mention of that.

"All you have to do is look at the content of the agreement," Moon said during the meeting with the correspondents held at the U.S. President's guest house, also known as Blair House, in response to a question about whether there has been any agreement on renegotiating the deal.

During and after the talks with Moon, Trump vowed to seek a new trade pact with South Korea, blaming the current deal for enlarging American deficits. At the start of the one-on-one talks with Moon, Trump even said the two countries "are renegotiating a trade deal right now."

According to Moon, U.S. officials talked about trade deficits the country has with the South, especially in the auto and steel industries. In response, South Korean officials said the deal has been working in a mutually beneficial manner, such as expanding the share of each other's market.

"We concluded the discussions on that with a counterproposal, and without agreement, that if there is still room for improvement, if you want to talk about non-tariff barriers, the two countries can establish a working-level task force to examine and analyze the effects of the FTA," Moon said.

Moon says renegotiation of Korea-U.S. FTA not part of summit agreement with Trump - 1

On the deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system, Moon said that Trump, other U.S. officials, and congressional leaders expressed full understanding of South Korea's point that the deployment should be done in accordance with due procedures.

Since taking office in May, Moon ordered the suspension of the THAAD deployment until an environmental assessment is completed. That decision spurred doubts that it might be a precursor to reversing the decision on THAAD deployment altogether, even though officials assured there is no such intent.

"Including President Trump, other administration officials, members of the House and the Senate ... all said that it surely is a matter of course that we have to go through procedural legitimacy," Moon said. "This is a natural procedure required of a democracy, and it's the same with the U.S. Nobody raised objections."

On North Korea, Moon said Trump told him that conditions for reopening talks with the communist nation should depend on the evolving situation. Trump also said such conditions cannot help but be determined according to intuition and South Korea has better intuition about such conditions, according to Moon.

Moon says renegotiation of Korea-U.S. FTA not part of summit agreement with Trump - 2


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