U.S. President Donald Trump has called the free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea a "horrible deal" in a recent interview, saying that Washington has already informed the Seoul government of its intention to renegotiate it.
In the interview with the British weekly Economist published on Thursday (local time), he added that the FTA with South Korea is "up for renegotiation" and the United States wants a "fair" deal with its ally.
"Everything in NAFTA is bad. That's bad. Everything's bad. But in the case of South Korea, we have a deal that was made by Hillary Clinton. It's a horrible deal," he said. "And it's up for renegotiation, and we've informed them that we'll negotiate."
His remarks are in line with what he previously made during an interview with Reuters in late April in which he said that the U.S. wants to renegotiate or terminate the FTA.
Last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence caught the South Korean government off guard when he said in Seoul that the U.S. will "reform" the FTA, raising speculation about a revision of the free trade deal.
On his campaign trail, Trump also blamed free trade deals, including one with South Korea, for killing U.S. jobs.
South Korea and the U.S. enforced the FTA in 2012 after years of grueling negotiations. Experts here see it as mutually beneficial, though the U.S claims that it is "tilted" in favor of Seoul.
"We want a fair deal. We don't want a one-sided deal our way, but we want fair deals. And if we can have fair deals, our country is going to do very well," Trump said.
His remarks on the FTA came as Moon Jae-in was sworn in as new president of South Korea on Wednesday. In a radio interview as a presidential candidate, Moon said the FTA with the U.S. cannot be terminated since it is "mutually beneficial."
Even in case of renegotiations, Moon added that efforts should be made to protect the national interests and balance the benefits between the two allies. (Yonhap)