Let's stop focusing on the he-said-she-said confusion in regards to South Korea paying for a missile defense system, and instead focus on what should be said.
On April 27, United States President Donald Trump suggested in an interview that South Korea should pay for the $1.2 billion missile defense system the U.S. is currently building in the country, First Post reported. His suggestion was taken at face value and quickly criticized by American and South Korean officials.
Days later, it was made public that U.S. National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster confirmed that the U.S. would still be paying for the system, defying the president's initial comments. And on April 30, McMaster said he would never contradict the president.
Seems like everyone is caught up in figuring out who said what instead of coming up with solutions to what should be said in regards to financial burden that America is holding up for South Korea.
Let's trace back the free trade agreement that ties America and South Korea together.
The agreement, also known as KORUS, originated in 2007 under former President George W. Bush's Republican administration. But 2008 came quickly, former President Barack Obama was elected, and KORUS was renegotiated. It its current form, KORUS was implemented in 2012 under Secretary of State and then-upcoming democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton, Fortune explains.
Since KORUS took effect in 2012, U.S. trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled to $27.7 billion in 2016.
Not to mention the $10.7 billion trade deficit in services, The New York Times reported.
So here we are, about to implement the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, (also known as THAAD), which will add over a billion dollars to this growing deficit.
Is it wrong to suggest that, after billions of dollars in losses and as South Korea's economy turns up, someone else step up to the cashier and offer to pay?
According to Reuters, THAAD is a missile defense system that intercepts a ballistic missile with its truck-mounted launcher, eight interceptor missiles, a radar system, and a fire control system.
This robust system came into play after North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un released a number of ballistic missile tests and two underground nuclear tests. This threatened the very existence of South Korea, which has been in a cold war with North Korea since its armistice in the 1950s.
Despite countless condemnations from the United Nations and economic sanctions imposed, Kim Jong-un's government has not lost its momentum -- leaving America, South Korea and China at a loss in trying to protect themselves.