Trump takes key U.S. ally by surprise on trade, missile defense

    Updated: April 28, 2017 at 7:20 am EST  See Comments

    (CBS) SEOUL, South Korea — Contradicting President Trump, South Korea said Friday it has no plan to renegotiate a bilateral trade deal with the U.S., or to pay for the U.S. missile defense system being deployed on its territory.

    South Korea’s trade and defense ministries were reacting to President Trump’s remarks that he will fix or end what he called a “horrible” bilateral trade deal with South Korea, and that he would make the Asian ally pay $1 billion for the THAAD missile defense system aimed at North Korea.

    Mr. Trump made the remarks in an interview Thursday with Reuters news agency during which he also said the U.S. could end up in a “major, major conflict with North Korea,” but that his focus was on reaching a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

    Woo Taehee, South Korea’s vice trade minister, said the country was not notified of any trade renegotiation, and that there have been no working-level talks with the U.S. regarding the five-year-old trade deal.

    Woo said the trade ministry was trying to confirm the details of the media reports on Trump’s remarks. He said there have been “no pre-talks” with the U.S. regarding the issue.

    The U.S.-South Korea free trade deal is not the only free trade pact that the Trump administration is reconsidering. Earlier this week the White House leaked the possibility of the U.S. abandoning the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Trump called that off hours later, saying he would seek to revamp the trade deal with Canada and Mexico and pull out of NAFTA only if he couldn’t secure a favorable deal.

    The remainder of this article is available in its entirety at CBS News

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