In shift, South Korea and U.S. to push forward on trade talks

The World On arirang

The World On arirang

Since the trade agreement went into effect, the USA goods trade deficit with South Korea more than doubled to US$27.6 billion past year. The trade friction comes as the military allies try to find ways to increase strategic cooperation in response to an increasingly aggressive North Korea.

South Korea indicated on Wednesday it was open to talks on revising a 2012 trade pact with the United States after initial differences that followed President Donald Trump's threat to terminate the accord unless it was renegotiated. "The U.S. will play hardball in discussions", but South Korea must take a wholistic approach and consider not just relations with the U.S., but also North Korea's provocations and the Thaad-related conflict with China, he said.

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North Korea has started operating some Seoul-invested factories in its Kaesong industrial complex after South Korea pulled out of the joint venture, Pyongyang's online media said Friday. Relations with its largest export market, China, have soured over the decision to allow the deploy a missile shield south of Seoul, and there is no sign that North Korea or the USA are interested in trying to negotiate an end to the current tensions.

Since the trade agreement went into effect in 2012, the USA goods trade deficit with South Korea more than doubled to $27.6 billion previous year. But through July 2017, the bilateral trade deficit fell to US$13.1 billion from US$18.8 billion during the same period of 2016, according to US Census Bureau data.

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The ruling Democratic Party said serving the best interest of the country should be the top priority in the amendment negotiations. Kim instead proposed a joint study with Washington to evaluate the impact of the five-year-old bilateral trade deal and the cause of the United States trade deficit.

But the LKP also took jabs at the government for succumbing to the US pressure to fix the free trade agreement.

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