The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday said it was working through various channels to find what United States President Donald Trump meant when he said the future of the free trade agreement between the two countries, which was recently renegotiated, would depend on the outcome of his talks with North Korea, AP reported.
“I may hold it [the trade deal] up until after a deal is made with North Korea,” Trump said in a speech in Ohio on Thursday. “Does everybody understand that? Because it is a very strong card, and I want to make sure everyone is treated fairly, and we are moving along very nicely with North Korea. We will see what happens.”
The US and South Korea started updating the six-year-old trade pact – known as KORUS – in 2017 after Trump said it was a job-killer and threatened to take the US out of it. The revised agreement includes a commitment from South Korea to extend by 20 years Washington’s tariff phase-out for pickup truck exports, Politico reported. It also allows the US to double the number of vehicles per model that can be exported without having to meet South Korean safety standards. Seoul has also agreed to cap its steel exports to the US at 70% of the average export volume for the past three years.
Trump made the comments hours after Pyongyang and Seoul agreed to hold a bilateral summit on April 27, before the possible meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May.