June 27, 2017 09:13
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has written to President Donald Trump urging him to use his meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in to speed up the full deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.
Eighteen senators led by Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Bob Menendez made the request in a letter to Trump on Friday. Signatories include Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who lost out to Trump in the Republican presidential nomination.
They said that 36,574 American soldiers died defending the U.S.-South Korean alliance and 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the South to defend it against a North Korean invasion.
"You and President Moon should seek a way to expedite the procedural review that is currently hindering the full deployment" of the THAAD batteries, they wrote. "We ask you to reiterate to President Moon that the decision to deploy THAAD was an alliance decision, and protects both U.S. troops and millions of South Korean citizens, while not posing any threat to South Korea's neighbors."
"We ask you to reiterate to President Moon that the United States is committed to working with [South Korea] to implement a full range of multilateral sanctions against [North Korea] and to intensify those sanctions," the senators said.
That implies a rejection of Moon's hopes to improve relations with the North and resume cross-border business like the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex or package tours to the North's Mt. Kumgang resort.
Meanwhile, Moon met with former South Korean ambassadors to the U.S. on Monday and said he does not expect to be pressured for specific results during the summit, but will use the meeting to "strengthen ties and trust" with the U.S. president.
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