South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong remarked that the Donald Trump administration’s threat to cancel the KORUS FTA is realistic and imminent and the administration is likely to use the threat as leverage for a while.
The minister had a press conference in Washington D.C. on September 27, saying that the South Korean government is sufficiently prepared for negotiations for KORUS FTA revision and is seeking more measures to deal with the threat. He recently met with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and some senators and representatives ahead of the second special session of the KORUS FTA Joint Committee scheduled for October 4.
According to the minister, President Donald Trump was looking to terminate the KORUS FTA early this month, but some senators, representatives and interest groups expressed concerns over his determination along with some in the administration, and then the President put the issue on the back burner in view of situations such as North Korean missile launch. The KORUS FTA is automatically terminated once either South Korea or the United States notifies the other of its intention to terminate the agreement.
“The U.S. President might not be bluffing but the South Korean government is well prepared for negotiations nonetheless,” the minister said, adding, “During my current visit to the United States, I met with 20 or so senators and representatives and multiple think tanks as well as influential American groups and organizations, each of which expressed their support for the KORUS FTA.”