Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says

Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says
© Getty Images

A top South Korean official has warned the U.S. that President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE’s tariffs on steel imports could be detrimental to the president’s efforts to draft a nuclear deal with North Korea, the Financial Times reported Monday.

“The timing is bad, the measure is bad for the U.S. and Korea going together on the North Korean nuclear issue,” South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in Brussels.

President Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this month to discuss the country's nuclear program in what would mark the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader.

The potential summit comes amid high tensions between Trump and Kim. Although Kim has said North Korea will not conduct weapons test while the negotiations are ongoing, Pyongyang has lately been working to build nuclear weapons capable of reaching the U.S.

According to Kang, Trump’s tariffs are “not something that the U.S. should be doing to a security ally” before such sensitive talks.

South Korea — a major exporter of steel to the U.S. — is seeking an exemption on the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump announced recently.

On March 7, Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.

Trump has left the door open for countries to get exemptions.

The European Union (EU) has demanded Trump change plans and threatened to retaliate by targeting U.S. products with tariffs of its own.

The tariffs have been highly criticized, including by Republicans, for opening the door to a trade war that could damage the U.S. economy.

Kang’s remarks come as she is set to meet with representatives of EU countries who are trying to prevent Trump from pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump has said that unless Britain, France and Germany make vast changes to the nuclear agreement that are to his liking, he will pull the U.S. out of the deal. Tehran has said it will not renegotiate.