Trump threatens to scrap 'horrible' South Korea trade deal

Trump threatens to scrap 'horrible' South Korea trade deal
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President Trump said on Thursday that he would seek to renegotiate a trade deal with South Korea or scrap it altogether.

"It is unacceptable, it is a horrible deal made by Hillary," Trump told Reuters in an interview, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE, his 2016 Democratic presidential rival.

"It's a horrible deal, and we are going to renegotiate that deal or terminate it."

The deal in question, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, was originally signed under President George W. Bush in 2007, but was renegotiated during the Obama administration and took effect in 2012.

Since the deal entered into force, the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled.

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The call to renegotiate the treaty came after Trump abruptly announced on Thursday that he would not seek to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement after threatening to do so earlier this week.

In the Reuters interview, Trump also called on South Korea to pay for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, which the U.S. began moving to a deployment site in South Korea earlier this week. He pegged the cost of the system at around $1 billion.

"I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. It's a billion dollar system," he said. "It's phenomenal, shoots missiles right out of the sky." 

The U.S. and North Korea have become locked in a bitter standoff in recent weeks amid concerns over the reclusive country's rapidly advancing weapons program. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea and Japan, both of which are considered vulnerable targets for an attack by North Korea.

Trump has often complained that foreign governments rely too heavily on the U.S. for defense and that they do not pay their fair share for U.S. military support.

He also took aim at Saudi Arabia on Thursday for failing to uphold its share of defense costs, saying the U.S. was losing a "tremendous amount of money" defending the kingdom.

"Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia,” Trump told Reuters.

He also said that possible trips to Saudi Arabia and Israel are in the works and could come in the second half of May.